Sewing, Knitting, Dogs

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Abby of Blue Ginger Doll released a new pattern, the Odette dress.  I've been waiting for this one for a long time!  It's always exciting for me when I'm asked to test sew a pattern.  I enjoy the process and hope I end up with a fabulous finished project.  In this case - I really do feel like I'm the winner!  

I worked on this dress over several weeknights while JB was in night school refreshing his emissions certification.   I also worked on some new techniques for me.  This dress includes my first hand picked zipper.  I have to tell you - I was positive the zipper was gonna just fall out the first time I wore it - but it hasn't!  I also did loads of catch stitching to finish the bodice lining.

The observant will notice that the skirt is slight too big for me.  Nope - I don't have any idea how big my hips are.  Maybe someday I'll figure it out.  In the meantime, this is wearable.  The super observant will notice that I don't have an insert in my bodice neckline.  That is totally my fault.  I messed up the button placement.  I have the insert by the sewing machine to fix it - but honestly I just wear the dress without it.  The slit is not so low as to be inappropriate for work.

This one's for Nessa - posterior for posterity

For the first time ever - I needed a forward shoulder adjustment.  I did NOT follow Heather B's lovely tutorial on adjusting the sleeve - which I will do for next time.  And there will be a next time!  I have fabric set aside for at least 2 more versions.  and speaking of Heather B - did you see her Odette Skirt hack?  As this was my first forward shoulder and a bit of a different neckline - I totally messed it up.  But I know what I did and will fix it on the next version.  The shoulder seams are very narrow.  They stay on my shoulders just fine, but you can see my bra straps.  I keep meaning to add strap keepers - but it hasn't happened yet.  Someday. . . 

I used a polished cotton with stretch.  The bodice is lined with purple batiste and so are the fronts of the pockets.  The pocket backs are fashion fabric.  As I mentioned, there are some changes I will make to the next version - make the skirt a smaller size, fix the forward shoulder adjustment that I did - the shoulder seam is in the right place, but the shoulders shouldn't be so wide/the seam so narrow, and follow Heather's tutorial for adjusting the sleeve to match.

Monday, August 04, 2014

One Trick Pony

I made another moneta.  But if you look closely - it doesn't really look like Colette's Moneta.  As designed - Moneta is a lovely dress that is flattering on everyone I've seen make it.  This is my 4th version - so it's not like I don't like it - I do.  I just find the neckline a bit high on me. 

For this version I took the Lady Skater front bodice over this one and just cut it lower.  i like it!

Per the instructions, the bodice is lined.  Well that's not exactly true, the instructions only have you line the bodice in the sleeveless version.  Until about 3 months ago, I made the majority of my dresses sleeveless and always wore a cardi.  But it's been hot!  and I want to be able to take my cardigan off and not break the dress code at work (I mean, I'm pushing it enough by having bare legs!)   So - I lined the bodice on this version.  

I decided I wanted a different skirt - so I used the skirt from McCalls 5974.  I didn't use the pleats exactly as designed for that skirt - I just measured out from center and folded the pleats back until the bodice and skirt panels lined up at the side seam. 

The fabric is a poly ITY that I bought from Fabric Mart in October 2013.  I spent just over $10 for the 3 yards and I had scraps left over.  The lining was a thin, inexpensive knit from JoAnn's that worked well with the colors.

I  added pockets - I never used to add pockets but I put them in my last dress and now I want them all the time!  Seriously - give me pockets!

Because this giant print was a bit see-through I also made slip out of the leftover yellow jersey.  As TMO told me last week when I was working on my maxi - you don't know how big your hips are do you?  Apparently I don't.  While the slip is long enough and did it's job well - it's too big!  I know this surprises none of you.  

So - all in all - another nice dress to add to the closet!  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tulip Moneta

This dress (yep - it's a dress) is the 3rd moneta I've made.  This pattern is quick, easy and mostly flattering.  In this knit the skirt is so very, very swishy!  The bodice fabric is a heavy jersey I picked up at JoAnn Fabrics on my bonus Monday off after the July 4th holiday.  The skirt portion is a stretch jersey ITY crepe knit border print that I bought from in 2011 (according to my order history), the top of this fabric was all white.  Since I managed to spill something on the skirt today and every single time I wear white I can't keep food in my mouth - I did NOT want a white bodice.  So - I took the fabric to JoAnn's to find something to work with it.  You can't see it in the photos, but the bodice has just a tiny bit of sparkle in it.  

bonus pics of the poor maple firewood and stump!
Moneta has a slight a-line shaped, gathered skirt.  The pattern piece has a curved hem.  Honestly - I can't remember if I lengthened this or not - but I think I probably did - just because I always do.   When I cut the skirt, I placed the bottom of the center front skirt pieces an inch below the bottom of the border print.  So, I lost some of the bottom of the border in the curve of the pattern piece.  Make sense?  I did not include pockets because I am not a pocket girl.  My hips are big enough I don't need to pile stuff on top of them.

I did scoop out the front neckline a bit.  I think the front neckline on this pattern is quite high.  I did not line the bodice or use bands, I simply pressed the edge under 3/4" and topstitched it.  I also did something weird with the sleeve hems - the appear to be curved - need to straighten them out!

Honestly - I'm not sure I love the skirt portion of this pattern.  The skirt gathers to the bodice.  My issues are my own problem and creating.  Since I don't know how big my hips are or how much ease they need - I cut the skirt portion in size 3X.  However, I cut the bodice in a large (um, yea - it could be slightly bigger).  However - I left all the matching notches where they were because they large sizes aren't nested with the smaller sizes.  This time I matched side seams and notches and gathered to fit.  That means more of the gathers are on the sides rather than evenly spaced.   I do think I'll take a page from Idle Fancy's book and pleat the skirt next time - or try matching the lady skater skirt to this bodice - or maybe flora ala Heather B.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Trying a New Pattern and it's not a dress!

I was keeping an eye on Beau in this pic
hence the crazy face
 I have had New Look 6098 in my pattern stash for a long, long time.  Every time I move upcoming patterns to sew around - I keep this one on the table.  And yet - until recently - I hadn't made it.  New Look patterns seem to fit me fairly well, straight out of the packet without too many alterations.  

I think one of the things I was worried about with this design, was the waist band.  Couple that with my lovely menopause belly and I was very afraid I might look pregnant in this dress, rather than just large.  A couple of weeks ago - I finally traced this pattern. When tracing - I made a few changes, notably:  short sleeves, raised the overlap, and made a 2" swayback adjustment.   

Knee is slowly improving
No more accessorizing with tape!
I grabbed a very pretty brown and white knit that I bought from Fabric Mart (Drat you Carolyn!!) but had only bought 2 yards of the fabric.  There was just enough for this top.  I posted a pic of the fabric on instagram and Sharon said it needed to be worn with hot pink to make it seasonally appropriate.  I just happened to have a pale pink skirt in the closet and an outfit was born! 

I wore this outfit on Friday - casual denim day in our office.  The one thing I noticed - the top is too big.  

The pencil skirt is from Simplicity's Amazing Fit line.  The pattern is Simplicity 2475 and is one of the first patterns released in this line.   The 'pleated' kick pleat is a change I made to the pattern, just for something different.  My kick pleat doesn't lay smoothly all the time, if I were to do this again - I would mimic Abby's instructions in her new Betsy Pencil Skirt, view C has a lovely pleated vent.

The one thing I noticed - the top is too big.  So, I've already cut out a dress from this pattern.  In version 2 I added a little bit more height to the center front and took some length out of the front angle.  I threaded up the new serger I bought strictly for coverstitching and got the bodice put together before heading out for Father's Day festivities last weekend.  I also cut the whole thing one size smaller - hopefully it works.  I'll be finishing it up today - right after I take the Abby to the vet for annual shots and check up. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Plaid and Floral. Yea or Ney?

So how do you feel about mixing plaid and floral?  Are you a fan?  Or do you think one is enough without the other?  

When I cut out the plaid for Ava - I really, really wanted to line her with a brown floral lining.  I was positive I had brown floral lining in the stash - but I didn't - I had brown floral linen.  

In answer to the question - I like floral and plaid together.  I just don't think these two fabrics go together as well as I would like.  

The dress is BHL's Anna.  I really like this dress, I think it's flattering and very girly.  This version is fully lined and there are no photos of the guts at all.

When I put the dress on for these photos - the zipper broke!  I ripped it out and put in an exposed metal zipper.  it was cold on my back all day!!  Guess I'm gonna have to learn how to do a hand picked zipped.  I'm tired of the failures.  

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Betsy and Ava

I told JB these pictures were important and he need to make me look like a super model.  Not sure he did his job - but here you go, non-the-less.

These two pieces are the Betsy pencil skirt and Ava jacket both by Blue Ginger Doll patterns. 

I will be honest and tell you that I basically begged Abby to let me test.  And she agreed as she was just expanding her pattern line into bigger sizing.  Blue Ginger Doll patterns now go to size 24. 

I will also tell you that any issues I had with the pattern were of my own causing and I stupidly didn't sign up for the blog tour.

I made view A of the pencil skirt and started with a size 24.  My waist measurement is a size 20 and my hips come in right at the 24.  My first mistake is that I muslined this puppy in true muslin.  This skirt is designed with negative ease and needs a fabric with some stretch.  The 24 muslin fit - but had wrinkles across the thighs and pulls from the hips.

So I added some more to the skirt and made muslin #2.  At this point - I had a complete meltdown - over everything.  My size and shape, my complete inability to alter a pattern.  I was ready to list my machines on craigslist and put the fabric on the curb for the first taker.  I emailed Abby - who patiently put up with me and said basically, hang in there, this will work.    On May 17th, I had a sewing day with a friend where we worked on her Mother of the Groom dress and she made some slight tweaks to my 2nd muslin - she's Abby and sewing friend were right - it wasn't too bad. 

So - I dug around in the fabric cupboards looking for something with stretch.  This brown is a stretch suiting of questionable fibers.  I took some of the extra width out of the final version  (ending up with about a size 24.5 [1/2 of the way to a 26]).  I will say - the waist is still too big. 

I then grabbed this lovely wool blend plaid from the fabric cupboard to make Ava.  I have never made a true lined jacket before.  I will again.  Based on the finished garment measurements I made a straight size 14 with no alterations.  I cut the cuffs and the lapel facing on the bias and added an extra layer of interfacing.

I think this jacket is cute and wearable.  It was easy to wear and the construction was easy to.  I did not apply the lapels following Abby's instructions - and I'm not sure why I went my own way.  I have a piece of black and white houndstooth and some faux black piping to make another and will do it properly next time.  I think I'll also cut the back to a longer length - but not much longer - I think it's pretty close to working quite well for me at the length it is.

All in all - I'm very happy with these two makes.  I really want to thank Abby for letting me test and putting up with my pity party.  I'm still not over it - but I'm doing better. 

Even though I didn't play along - please check out the others on the blog tour, they can be found here:

29th May – Tanya at MrsHughes - ( Betsy) 
1st June – Liz at Sewn by Elizabeth - ( Betsy & Ava as well as a little interview with me.)
2nd June  – T at uandmii ( Betsy)
3rd June  – Mary at YoungBroke&Fabulous
4th June – Mary at Idle Fancy
5th June – Andrea at foursquarewalls
6th June– Tanya at MrsHughes - (Ava) 

7th June - Melissa at Scavenger hunt 
8th June -  T at uandmii ( Ava)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sew Dolly Clackett

 I finally sewed up the By Hand London Elisalex dress.  Obviously without the tulip skirt.  I spent 2 weekends of sewing time working on the fit of the bodice.  While the bodice fit straight out of the envelope - there were some problems.  The main one being that the princess seams did not go over my bust where they should.  They were off to the side by quite a bit and there was pulling across the center front. 

The first thing I did was an 'unauthorized' alteration.  I took the side front bodice piece and I drew a line from the pivot at the underarm to the waist and sliced that open, then I spread it about half an inch right across the fullest part of the bust.  I moved the center front off the center by 1/4 of an inch and reshaped the neckline.  Muslin #2 still had pulling across the front.  Next set of alterations was a proper full bust adjustment adding 3/8 of an inch. 

I ended up making one more set of alterations before cutting into my fabric - but at this point, I honestly don't remember what they were.  I know I slashed and overlapped the back bodice from the armhole to the neckline edge.  I did that in 3 different places and removed about an inch and half.  I did this because the back gaped around my shoulder blades.  Again - not sure if this was authorized - but it worked.  I could still raise my arms and the back didn't gape.

 After 2 weeks and 4 muslins, I finally traced and muslined the tulip skirt.  The back fit great - but the front wasn't fabulous.  Might be because on my body that tulip skirt isn't really exaggerated - I'm that shape. 

I used the skirt from McCalls 6503.  It's a full A-line with 2 pleats.  Rather than use the pleats from the McCalls skirt - I used the box pleats from Elisalex and the shape of the McCalls skirt.  Unfortunately, I didn't do a great job blending the two - need to smooth that out for the next version. 

The fabric is a cotton print that has been in the stash cupboard for a long time.  The background is light pink, there is some dark pink, green and white in the print.  I think the white cardigan is a little bit bright with the print. 

The bodice is fully lined.  This dress is comfortable and easy to wear.  I think for my next version I will lower the front neckline just a bit.  I do want to try this bodice with a pencil skirt. 

Hopefully - I can do a bit more sewing in a the upcoming weeks.  I need some cute, loose dresses for an upcoming vacation in Maui.  Hopefully I'll have some desire to sew after work in the next couple of days. 

Thanks to Dolly Clackett and Sarah at Rhinestones & Telephones for the inspiration and prodding to finally sew up Elisalex.   I can see many many skirts added to the comfortable and flattering bodice - Anna, Flora, circle - just to name a few.