Monday, October 1, 2018

Shirred Stretch Dress

Burdastyle's Stretch Jersey Dress 08/2018 #112 is sure to be one of my all-time favorites. I'm sure I will make this over and over again in various prints as well as solids. Which features do I like? Well, just about all of them: the short raglan sleeves, the simple (and effortless to construct) V-neck, the shirring through the hips, and the overall slim silhouette. It's hard to see the shirring in the photo, but they are visible in the inside-out photos below.

I left out the back zipper, because I knew my cotton/lycra jersey was stretchy enough to let me pull it on over my head. I made a casing for the waist elastic, using the seam allowance for the skirt segments, so it would be smooth on the inside. Probably it would even be okay to leave out the elastic and use a simple seam at the waist. The hip circumference should have negative ease so that the gathers do not droop.

Front, inside out
The neckline hem is fine left as a raw edge since the fabric doesn't unravel.
Back, inside-out
I sewed lengths of narrow cotton twill tape to reinforce the gathered seams.

back view

The pattern is available as a download from (I have no affiliation, but I am a subscriber to the magazine.) 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Colette Nora

I have been subscribing to Colette's Seamwork since they started a few years ago. With each newsletter comes 2 free patterns, or pattern credits, and these are very simple to sew. So simple, that I guess I didn't care to download many of them, and I've been accumulating credits. But now Colette has made it so that members can use the credits to trade for the regular Colette patterns, which are slightly more involved and have variations such as top and dress. Nora is one of these, and I really like the sporty look of it. When you see the dress I made, you'll see that the design is also very versatile. Also, what I look for in a pattern is one that can work for my 2 daughters as well as myself. Triple duty!
The fabric called for by the pattern is a more heavyweight knit like ponte or french terry. But the muslin fabric I used was a very stretchy wool rib knit, so binding this with the woven binding as per the pattern directions was a bit tricky.  Also, when I had my daughter try it on, she said that she didn't like "those lines in the chest." What lines? Oh, you mean the darts! I had to agree. Number one, we don't need darts in knit tops, and number 2, young people don't like darts because they actually call attention to the bust!

After I eliminated the darts using Maria Denmark's great tutorial, in my next version I used the main fabric as ribbing bands, because I really didn't want to deal with sewing bias binding to knit anymore. It just doesn't seem right. This is lightweight rayon wool jersey with a wool novelty knit as contrast.

My 3rd version is in hatchi knit from FabricMart, which I had 2 yards of. It is actually really nice stuff, and it's probably a closer weight to what the pattern designer intended. (Some hatchi that I procured previously was much flimsier than this, so I was pleasantly surprised.) I was going to make a top and then realized that there was probably enough to make a dress, and if I didn't like it I could cut it off to create the top. I ended up cutting the 2 back pieces one layer at a time, and piecing the arm of one of them. But that's okay since it allowed me to place a bit of color where there wouldn't otherwise be. I made the ribbing bands for the neckline, sleeves, and hem, and I pressed the bands to the inside, sewing them down for the neckline and the hem.

When I get tired of using this as a dress, it could become a mini-dress to wear with tights, a top or even a cardigan!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Toile Multipocket Tote

I had this cotton/linen fabric set aside to make a dress with, but it sat there nervously, saying to me, "Would you really wear this?!" I was in love with the fabric, though. It's been in my stash for oh maybe 4 years, but I never thought of it as a bag until now. Problem solved. So much more appropriate as a bag, don't you think?

These 3/4" wide leather straps I ordered from Texas were too thick to put through my sewing machine. Actually the machine did fine, but the leather was so tight that the topstitch thread kept breaking. So I used leather glue, weighted down and dried over-night, then jean rivets to fasten the straps.

Actually I had tried making bags before but wasn't happy with them because they always seemed too floppy. Be that as it may, the stiffener called Pro-Woven Super-Crisp from Fashion Sewing Supply that I've been using for this and the previous RedHot Mama Multipocket Tote, makes it all worthwhile! 

 Bag Pattern: Red-Hot Mama Multipocket Tote by HotPatterns

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Red-Hot Mama Tote Bag

The supply list for this project is probably the most daunting aspect of HotPatterns Red-Hot Mama Tote Bag.  In addition to the usual places I order sewing supplies from, I ordered from two new-to-me vendors who have Etsy shops, and was very happy with the timeliness of their shipping. Although it took a couple of weeks for me to collect the fabric and notions, it became sort of a fun scavenger hunt ending in having in my eager hands all the goodies needed to make this wonderful bag.

The end result is better than I ever imagined! I love the colors in this bag, but I think I would have also loved it in a solid.

The leather straps were shipped to me from Thailand! They have a beautiful hand and a definite real leather scent.

Not sure how well this cotton lining will wear, but I like the nice clean look for now anyway. The lining and the pockets (and the clever shape) are what keeps the bag from looking like it was made in Africa.

I'm sure I've got to make more of these.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Workaday Pants

My son needed a pair of pants that could go from work to play and be comfortable (don't we all!). I bought the HotPatterns Mr. H.P. Workaday Pants some time ago because it seemed like a good basic pattern to own. And finally, son came home long enough for me to fit a muslin over a couple of days, and finish the pants in about 2 days. I ended up tracing the back pattern piece from the suit pants I had made him which I knew fit well, and they turned out to be pretty close to Workaday pattern except for the wider legs, and the extra seam allowance in CB seam which is traditional in men's pants. My son does not like skinny leg pants, and at his job he mostly sits at a computer. I think it's possible the pattern envelope drawing shows the pant legs to be wider than the actual pattern is. (At least that was my experience with the muslin.)
I intended these to be quite casual, but the pattern design makes them VERY versatile! In the cotton twill with subtle slubs fabric from FabricMart that I used, I think the pants turned out very classy! Check out the back flap pockets--slick! Love the shape of the flaps. And the front welt pocket. Topstitched is more casual, but I left it un-topstitched because it already looked great. Lefty son gets his little welt pocket on the left side.

Instructions suggested taping raw edges and seams on the inside, so I grumbled and did it. But I am quite happy with the result!
I got lost following the fly instructions, so I just did it similar to what I do with jeans, but inserting the pocket edges under the fly pieces as I went, which gives a really nice finish and probably helps keep the angled pockets from gaping open.

Instructions say to stitch the belt loops on, and then later, to topstitch the waist area. I had to topstitch around the belt loops! So, if you make these pants, please leave the bottoms of the belt loops for last. 

Love, love, love these pants!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Velvet Moto

Making muslins for fitting is not something I like to do. So whenever I can, I try to make sure that something can be done with the muslin. However, when the pattern is asymmetrical or a bit confusing, it is really necessary to bite the bullet and just do it. 
When I started making my Moto Jacket, I made muslins in two sizes, wadded them up and threw them in a corner. Turns out, of course, my Marie admired my finished jacket and expressed a desire to have me make her one too. I pulled the size 8 out and tried it on her. Except for a few inches pinned out of the chest, it fit perfectly! There's double-duty out of one muslin.
So I ransacked my stash(es), trying to think of what fabric would a pre-teen find not boring. And re-read the fabric possibilities on the pattern envelope. "Velvet", it said. Really?
Well, this was the velvet that I had, purchased to make a long skirt for Christmas, but didn't have time to. It is a panné velvet, I believe out of some kind of synthetic.

No problem, I thought. But oh my, I forgot velvet can't be pressed well. Luckily this is a kind of already distressed velvet. I agonized in my dreams about whether to fuse or not to fuse this fabric. I decided to use hair canvas in the fronts as well as the yoke to add body to the jacket. The velvet seemed a bit soft for a jacket. And lining it would help. Then I decided to go ahead and fuse interfacing to the front facings, using a towel facing the velvet side.

Hair canvas pinned to fronts and yoke
 Here are some photos showing the steps to making the zipper pocket.
The zipper pocket

inside view, with interfacing behind the zipper pocket window
clipping the zipper pocket window

pressing the zipper pocket window

pinning the zipper into the window

zipper topstitched into the window

Adding pocket bag

Layers to stitch together

Sewing around the pocket bag

The pocket bag finished, inside view

Zipper edge should be enclosed

This is how I mark the top of the sleeve cap with chalk. Easier than seeing a notch which gets lost when you gather ease.
I cut the sleeves on the straight grain, rather than on the bias which the pattern says to do, because of the obvious "stripes" on the velvet.  I am happy to see that they turned out well.

And now I'm the one who wishes she could borrow THIS jacket!!

Lining out of hammered satin feels very nice!

Shirred Stretch Dress

Burdastyle's  Stretch Jersey Dress 08/2018 #112  is sure to be one of my all-time favorites. I'm sure I will make this over and ove...