Saturday, December 29, 2012

Poochy Failure (McCalls 6399)

Cute Neckline; Not so cute waistline
Looks like I'm pregnant!

This top was such a disappointment. I thought it would be a nice wardrobe basic with the pleats adding a little sassiness. Instead, the pleats at the waist (front and back) were the downfall of this design. The neckline pleats were very cute and I love the whole shape of the neckline. If I was clever enough, I would incorporate the neckline including pleats into another top. But I'm not, so this pattern will go in the trash.

Pattern Description: MISSES' TOPS: Fitted, stitched pleats, optional invisible zipper, shoulder pads. This is a Palmer Pletsch pattern.

SUGGESTED FABRICS: Crepe De Chine, Silk Rayons, Challis, Silk Crepes, Jersey, Cotton Knits.

Pattern Sizing: Misses 8-22. I made a size 10 from shoulder to just below armhole, tapering to a 12-14 at hips.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? No. The pooching at the stomach and back are not evident in the photos and drawings. My stomach is relatively flat but the top makes me look like I have a huge tummy. No thank you!

I made View D

Link to Pattern

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, although I stopped before the back and sleeve facing construction which the pattern author describes as "unusual".

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Likes: I LOVE the neckline. The pleats at the upper sleeve / neckline are very attractive.

My favorite thing about this pattern is all the fitting tips (similar to other Palmer / Pletsch patterns.) I noticed there was an alteration for "Broad Back". I am embarrassed to admit this but I didn't know there was just a thing. As soon as I saw it, it was a "DOH!" moment (said in my best Homer Simpson voice.) I have often had fitting issues with my tops - when the front fits, the back is tight and vice versa. I always thought it was because I have a small bust. But instead, the fitting issues are caused by my back. And to make this even funnier, my mom is visiting and I asked her to take these photos to post. As soon as I turned for the back shot, she said, "I never realized you have the 'McHugh' (her family name) broad back." I about died laughing. Only took me 49 years but at least I know now.

Dislikes: The pleats at the waist are very UNflattering from the front and even more so from the back.

I also had some trouble with the sleeves twisting around. Not sure if I cut them off grain or if the pattern design is flawed. I was cutting single layer so I thought I stayed on grain but maybe not.

Sleeve Detail
Fabric Used: Stretch satin from Hancock. Although the shiny satin side would typically be the right side, I didn't want a shiny top so I used the matte side for the right side. Even though it's poly, I really liked this fabric and may try to buy some more for a different project.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Skipped the zipper, wasn't necessary. I also made a broad back adjustment to fit my body. I only got as far as pinning up the sleeves but they were very long on me. I usually need to shorten sleeves a bit (1/2-1") but I needed to shorten by 2 1/2" with 1" hem to get the right hem length as shown in the photo (i.e. as shown, it's folded 3 1/2".)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? No and absolutely not.

Conclusion: I should have listened to the other reviewers. This is just a bad design. But the silver lining is that I learned a valuable fitting tip that will help me on future projects.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Blessings of Life

We interrupt this sewing blog for a photo of the cutest baby EVAH! May I introduce to you, my grandson Brady, born on Tuesday, December 11, 2012.
I am in love....

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Glittery Holiday Skirt (B5466)

I have found the PERFECT pencil skirt pattern for me. Butterick 5466 will now be my go-to skirt pattern. I had planned to make a brocade skirt for the holidays and found a BEAUTIFUL purple copper fabric at Mood (online). Unfortunately, after I ordered it, they called me to say they couldn't locate it in the warehouse. BOOOOOOO HISSSSSSS!! I was so bummed. I still haven't found a replacement brocade that I like as much but I did find an interesting fabric at JoAnn's that I thought would make a nice holiday skirt. Yes, I said JoAnn's and furthermore, the fabric is an upholstery fabric I found in the clearance section ($8, thank you very much).

Not much to say about this pattern. The instructions seem clear enough although the pattern doesn't call for a lining so I just did my thing. I chose the no-waistband version, View A, since the fabric is stiff / bulky and I didn't want any more fabric than absolutely necessary. I lined it in a black silky (probably poly) fabric.

I fluctuate between 12 and 14 around the middle but this one fit perfectly using a straight 14 at waist and hips. I shortened the fabric cutting line by 1.5" and still did a 2.5" hem. I shortened the lining cutting line by 3.25" and hemmed 2". As you can see, the skirt hits me right above the knee.

Pictures are not too good for this. It is hard enough to capture the glimmer but especially hard in artificial light. I did pick up an inexpensive brocade at Hancock with which I may make a second version since I like the look so much.

I wanted a simple black top to go with this version and will blog about that project in a subsequent post.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wardrobe basic - corduroy skirt (S2451)

Shown with blouse I also recently finished and reviewed here.

I've made this skirt pattern once before out of a stretch black twill fabric and wore it a lot. Because I didn't line that one, it stuck to my tights and I was always having to tug it back down when I walked. The original skirt is now too big (yippee!) so I decided to make a new one. I've always loved corduroy skirts and  I found some black stretch wide wale corduroy at our only local independent fabric store, Banasch's Fabrics. This stuff is so soft! I love that it has a little stretch to it but I ended up lining it with a woven, which eliminated the stretchability!

I made the version with the vent in the back but forgot to shorten it first so I lost some of the vent when I hemmed. Oopsie!  I tried like heck to follow several different tutorials for how to attach the lining to the vent but I couldn't figure any of them out. So I did a lot of hand sewing.

Pattern is Simplicity 2451, View C. This is a great pattern, winning PR Best of 2010 patterns (voted by PR members).

Some front and back photos (lightened to show detail).

Fun lining - it's just an inexpensive silky poly purchased from one of the online vendors. I bought a bunch in this colorway and a blue scheme to use for linings:

Purple blouse (V8747)

I'm sure this blouse looks familiar. The pattern is Vogue 8747, View D. It's been reviewed oodles of times at PR. I thought it was a "Best of" pattern sometime in the last few years but I can't find it on the lists. I remember loving Lori's version! I didn't intend to copy her exactly but I did have this beautiful purple stretch cotton shirting from FabricMart so that's what I used! LOL

I made lots of mistakes as I made this top and it took me FOREVER to finish it. I tend to sew in short time spurts, sometimes with days in between, and I think this top would have worked better if I could have stayed more focused. But having said that, I am very happy with how it turned out. It may be the best collar I have made yet and the buttonholes turned out very nicely.

Here it is with the skirt I just finished and reviewed here. (I didn't intend to chop my head off but I was using a tripod in my office and had to get back to work!)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Abstract Wrap Dress (NL6097) & More Baby Shower photos

I needed a dress for the baby shower so on Thursday night, I decided to make New Look 6097. It had the casual look I wanted and the pattern is rated highly at Pattern Review.  The fabric is from my May 2012 PR weekend in New York. I think it came from Metro Textiles but I'm not positive. The pattern needed 2.5 yd and I only had about 2 1/8 but with some very clever fabric placement, I squeaked it out. I thought I lined up the stripes perfectly but alas, the side seams are off a bit. Not so much that I won't wear it but enough that I won't wear it to any functions with my sewing friends!

I agree with the other reviewers that this was easy to put together and sized well. I made a 10 on top and graded out to a 12 at the hips. I had plenty of room. The sweater knit was a little sheer so I ended up underlining the skirt with a lightweight black knit that I had. If I hadn't decided to underline, I estimate the dress would have taken about 2 hours to sew. I don't love the fabric belt but that's my opinion about all fabric belts to be honest. I will wear it with a black belt next time.

More shower photos:
My daughter, her MIL and me (the two Grandmas!)

 My two daughters, my mom and me.

The adorable cookies made by a friend of a friend.  They were delicious, too!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Baby Shower Loot

As I've mentioned before, my daughter and son-in-law are expecting a baby in December. I made some things to give her at the baby shower today. 

They decided on a policeman theme for the nursery (daddy is a police officer) but couldn’t find much in the way of bedding / accessories so we decided to design something as described in a previous post. My daughter ok'd all the designs and picked out the fabrics.  After piecing the quilt top, I took it to a local quilt shop to do the actual quilting. I was very happy with how it turned out - $35 well spent! Using some tips I found on various quilters’ blogs, I used my machine to put the binding on and added a little tag for my future grandson.


I scaled down two of the designs I created for the quilt to make a couple appliqued bibs. Rather than make the bibs, I purchased some fingertip towels at Big Lots (removed the monograms) and created over-the-head bibs by cutting a hole and serged ribbing to the neckline.

Other goodies include a University of Cincinnati bib (mom and dad’s alma mater) and another onesie (like this one) made from Jalie 3133 and an old t-shirt from dad.

I made coordinated Christmas stockings for my daughter and her husband last year and used the same pattern in different colors to make a stocking for the baby. Purchased Christmas socks will go with that present. I also knit a hat but it turned out way too big. 

The final project was a diaper cake. I used instructions found at this tutorial. My version took 67 size 2 Pampers, a 14” cardboard cake base, about 3 yd each of a wide and skinnier ribbon, and a BAZILLION rubber bands. I found the cute little Fisher Price police car on eBay and some blue pacifiers for accent. The bibs and onesie were also included as accents.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunshine Skirt (M6402)

I purchased a black ponte skirt for one of my daughters back in the spring but I liked it so much, I kept it for myself (Bad Mom).  I've worn it a few times and always seem to receive compliments so I thought I would make another out of a small piece of yellow ponte knit I had.

Originally, I wanted no waistband but couldn't find a pattern like that and didn't feel like converting a pattern (Lazy Mom). I found this skirt pattern that I liked WITH a waistband that had woven and knit options.  I finished this about a month ago but never got around to photographing and blogging.  It really has more of a summer vibe to it so I missed the boat for this year.

  • McCalls 6402, View A
  • Size 10 Ok, so I was a bit optimistic due to recent weight loss and a 12 might have made more sense but with some Spanx, it will be just fine. But I am KICKING myself that I didn't check the length. I'm a little over 5'3" so normally I have to shorten skirts / dresses but this one is SHORT. The length is ok for going out but I wouldn't be comfortable wearing in a business setting. I may make this again in a more conservative color for work but will add 2".
  • Fabric: Yellow Ponte knit remnant I picked up at Banasch. I think it was only 3/4 yard.
  • Conclusion: It was a little tricky matching the 4 points but I'm happy with the results. It went together fairly quickly. Mark thinks is looks "hot" so I'm calling it a success.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

More baby sewing

And this isn't even for my daughter's baby! But her boss just adopted a little boy and she wanted to give her a hand-made gift. I offered to make yet another bathrobe like these and this and this. While we were picking out the bathrobe fabric, my daughter saw some University of Cincinnati fabric that she liked. Both she and her husband graduated from UC so we picked up a yard with no specific idea in mind. On our way home, she asked me to make a bib for her co-worker's baby in addition to the robe.

I don't love all these teeny tiny seams and corners but whaddya gonna do?

 I just noticed I took the photo before setting the little black snap on the bib.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Quilt Top Finished

I've never been fond of the actual quilting process and always find my results to be too amateur looking. So for Brady's quilt, I'm sending it to the quilt shop to do the quilting. I was happy to hear that I didn't even have to baste it; they are going to do that, too!

Here's a look at the finished top laid out on my cutting table.

Friday, August 31, 2012

T-Shirt Onesie - J3133

One of my friends made an adorable onesie for her granddaughter to wear to a fair - the onesie was made from a t-shirt purchased at the same fair in a prior year. It was sooooo adorable! It gave me the idea to try it using a t-shirt from my son-in-law's police department. My daughter "stole" the shirt from his dresser. But before I cut into it, I figured I would do a muslin using a t-shirt that I didn't care as much about. I found this old Harley Davidson t-shirt that I never wear and figured it would work.

So here is the before....


And the after (still need snaps):


Monday, August 27, 2012

Raglan T - McCalls 6288

8/30/12 Edited to add final photo. I LOVE this pattern. I think I will raise the neckline in the front another 1/2" or so next time I make it so it is more appropriate for work.

How cute is this fabric?!! The French theme includes images of the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower and a lovely french dame. I wanted to highlight the fabric in a simple t-shirt.
I love raglan sleeve shirts. I think that love stems back to the "baseball shirts" that were popular in the mid 70s. Remember this look? I had a few of them in middle school and thought I was ALL THAT when I wore them. How goofy. LOL

There don't seem to be too many patterns out there with this sleeve style, so when I saw a review last year for such a shirt, I looked up the pattern, McCalls 6288. I must admit I never would have noticed this pattern - the collection looks quite boring - but the t-shirt pattern is exactly what I was looking for.
There were a couple reviews at PR and I'm very thankful for the one that recommended raising the neckline and bringing in the shoulder edge (so bra straps don't show). I added an inch and you can see, it's still fairly low cut. I'm happy with the shoulders but I think I will raise the neckline a smidge more next time I make it. The top is not quite finished, still needs the neckline binding and a hem, but I am very happy with how it is turning out and will wear it with my red skinny jeans or maybe a red skirt as Sherril suggested!

Other Details:
Fabric is an ITY-type knit purchased from Spandex House in NY in May.
I cut a straight size 10. After basting, I decided it was a little too snug at the hips so I reduce the seam allowance from the waist to the hips to add an extra inch ( 1/2" on each side).

This pattern (as tweaked) will become a Tried and True for me.

My Sewing Machine Inventory

The chronology (I'm journaling this for my own benefit):

  • 1990/1991 - purchased my first Bernina - the1020, a mechanical workhorse. It has never had a single thing wrong with it and it runs as well today as it did 20 years ago. I think I paid about $1000.    
  • 1992 - purchased a Bernette Bernina serger in 1992 when I moved to Cincinnati. I think it was around $500. This entry level machine has also been very reliable.
  • 2011 - purchased a Bernina 1300 MDC serger; My sewing machine dealer was offering great deals during the International Quilt Festival and I purchased for $1099. I still need to figure out how to use all the features!                                                         
  • 2011 - purchased a used Bernina 1630 from a seller on Pattern Review for $500.  I decided I wanted a second machine to bring to Florida but after I received it, I decided to keep it in Cincinnati.
  • 2012 - Was happy to find a used Activa 125 S on Craigslist within 60 miles of Bonita Springs. Purchased for $400.

  • 2013 - Purchased a brand new Bernina 635 for $2700 (retail price $4600!!)  
  • 2013 - Purchased a  used Babylock Coverstick for $745 including shipping (retail $1300 new)

So much more fun to collect sewing machines than say.... coins... or baseball cards..... Dontcha think?