Thursday, September 8, 2016

Butterick 5926: Ponte Knit Blazers

Image result for butterick 5926
Butterick 5926
Well, hello there!  I have not been updating my blog, but posting pretty much everything on Instagram as I sew.  So here are two knit blazers, the red is a wearable muslin and the purple the final version.  I used Butterick 5926, View B.  I started by cutting a 16 bust and about an 18/20 hip, then went on to alter it.

Let's take a gander at the red one first.  I used a no-so-very-good-quality ponte that is heavy on polyester and is a lighter weight.  It was perfect for the muslin and ended up being a great wearable muslin as well!  Before cutting any fabric I lengthened the bodice by 3/4" (1.9 cm), did a swayback adjustment of about 3/4" (1.9 cm), and added 1" (2.5 cm) to the sleeve length (later removed for the purple one).  These are all standard alterations for me, so I just get them out of the way immediately.

After sewing it together, I had to lengthen the upper back darts, basically doubling the length.  Right before setting in the sleeves, I saw how wide the shoulders were and removed about 3/4" (1.9 cm) of them.  The fabric here is fairly drapey and creates a very casual, slightly wrinkly blazer.  I feel like it's a really great alternative to a sweatshirt for everyday or at my super casual office.  My buttons are from my stash of vintage goodies.  The buttonholes are little wonky, I think because of the quality of the fabric. I used my serger for most of my seams and hemmed everything with my ultra awesome coverstich machine! I am so in love with my Brother 2340CV coverstitch since I got it for my birthday this summer, I found it VERY easy to figure out how to use after having had the Brother 1034D serger for about 5 years now.

I used a lovely purple viscose knit ponte for my official version.  It's a heavier, really nice quality fabric.  It works perfectly for this pattern.  It has a firmer and stiffer hand then the red stuff I used for the muslin, the collar lays so much better, and has a more crisp look overall.  I ironed in a small square of interfacing on both layers of the button holes, it helped provide a much better finish.  

What's weird about the pattern is they don't include understitching in the process, this was even noted by other folks who sewed the pattern.  I understitched the collar in back plus along the front collar pieces and lapel.  With the second version, I got rid of that 1" extra I lengthened the sleeves.  There is an elbow dart, it fell too far past my elbow on the muslin.  On V.2, I was able to get a nice collar in back and on the lapel... maybe not a couture, perfectly tailored one I'd want from a woven blazer, but fantastic for a casual knit one!!  The buttons for this one are from the local big box fabric store.

I read nearly every single review of this pattern on Pattern Review before sewing it up.  Lots of folks had trouble with the directions for the collar, and I can see how things can get jumbled up.  I was expecting a bumpy ride for this part, but had zero problems surprisingly.  Overall, I found the directions to work really well for me. And, yes I excluded the pockets on both garments.  The red ponte would have turned out a hot mess with the top stitching.  I had the purple pockets sewn, pressed and ready to attach, pinned them on and realized I preferred the no-pocket look better.

This was an a easy pattern to sew up.  The details like a center back seam, upper back darts, elbow darts and a notched collar give the pattern a great look.  There is some hand-sewing with the back collar and insider shoulders.  Compared to a tailored and lined woven blazer, this was a breeze to sew.  I'll wear both on a regular basis when it's not a zillion degrees.

I tried to take pictures outside in the shade of my porch in the 100F (37C) temps.  It is so freakishly hot here I couldn't manage more then one sweaty picture with a rumpled up blazer.

Oh lawwddy, it's hot in the Mid-Atlantic

Monday, June 20, 2016

McCall's 7121: Summer Knit Dress

It's summer!!! And I have a long list of summer dresses to sew.  I've sewn this pattern up before, it's McCall's 7121.  I had good intentions to sew the maxi version and with that inverted V/chevron shape on the bodice, too... but you can't do that when you're cheap and only order 3 yards of most fabrics unless you know exactly what you are sewing when you buy it.  But it ends up super cute still.I made View B with a 16 bust/waist then graded the a-line skirt out to an 18.  I also added 1" (2.5 c) to the bodice length. 

I used a rayon/spandex knit with a 4-way stretch.  I made binding strips and used them on the sleeve and neck openings rather then fold and sew like the pattern wants you... it gives a better finish.  I wanted to top stitch the bindings but my sewing machine was eating this fabric alive... possibly due to the combination of the super stretchy quality of the material and the thickness of the fabric with all the layers (even under my trusted walking foot!!) 

I had some odd bits of fabric left and I was enjoying watching old reruns of The Jeffersons and Family Ties the other night, so I made some fun fabric strips to connect the back.  I didn't use elastic in the waist like the pattern calls for.  

So that's it.  It's a very easy dress to throw together with my serger.  I feel like I need one more photo, so why not this one.  


I have secretly been sewing and not blogging.  Sort of.  I do put pics on my Instagram as I sew, so it's not that secretive.  I'm still in mourning from losing my fancy Nikon camera (it jumped and killed itself) and not wanting to take photos as much with this old point and click I've used for the last few posts.  But  I may get a new one next month!  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Simplicity 8014: A Chambray Shirt Dress

Alrighty, now we have some sun and warmth, it's time for some Spring sewing.  I sewed up Simplicity 8014 this week, a sweet little shirt dress pattern.  I had this orangey-red cotton chambray in my stash, I picked it up from Mood a year or so ago.  I made View C in a size 16 bust and graded out at the hip to about a 20. This dress has a lot of ease in the waist area, so the belt is really needed to nip it in.  Otherwise it looks a bit sack-like in the back.  Adding vertical darts in back or an elastic waist in back would pull it in nicely if I didn't want the belt. 

I excluded the in-seam pockets on the side.  As much as I love me a good set of pockets there, they often add bulk to my hip line.  I feel like I want to stay away from adding more layers of fabric and bulk there. 

And obviously I didn't put the sleeves on.  I used some vintage pink bias tape to finish of the sleeve openings on the inside.  I also dug out a bunch of vintage snaps I have rather then doing button holes. They are dang cute!  The front of them have a pearlized button cover.

I didn't make any of my usual alterations otherwise.  No lengthening of the bodice or hemline.  It's a fairly loose fitting garment so there isn't much need to go into detailed tailoring.  I could have done a swayback adjustment, but with the belt on, it's not that critical.

You can see in the photo below, that shirring on the back makes it so full back there.  Overall, I'm pleased with this dress.  But who the heck is going to iron it for me after I wash it?? 

I don't have tons to say about it.  This pattern is a great casual classic.  Otherwise, in my sewing room I made up a super cute new top for running, which I will blog about next week after my big half marathon!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Kimono Style Jacket: Simplicity 1318

I'm on a roll here... two blog posts in what, two weeks?!  It's Mother's Day and I'm stuck at home alone because I have a nasty little cold... while my guys are at the local major league baseball game on the gorgeous sunshiny day.  But I do have a cute new garment I sewed up, I finished this jacket over the weekend.  I used Simplicity 1318, View C.

I cut a straight Medium-- no lengthening or grading anywhere like I usually do-- which shows you how voluminous and long this kimono style jacket is on a 5'8"/1.73 m figure (without shoes).  I normally cut a medium (plus a tad more sometimes) at the bust and always have to grade out a couple size to about a large or more on the hip when sewing with commercial patterns. This thing is very full, and feels gigantic on, but after taking pics, I really like the scale of this garment on my figure.

The wind was whipping around and wooshed up my top in the side view pic... it looks like I have a big pregnant belly or something... however I do not!!  I used a rayon challis with a really awesome large scale floral.  Don't you love it soooo!? I do.  I was *this* close to using a super nice silk charmeuse but I was too nervous to cut it up for my first go at this pattern.  It's such an easy fitting garment, I see why it's so wildly popular on Pattern Review's website.  The directions are pretty good, but I went about the order steps as I felt like doing.  My lapel was a little off at the ends on the hem, so I hemmed it up last.  Whatevs, nothing major.

I hand stitched the hem, I always enjoy see these details on other people's sewing blogs... the juicy bits!!  I opted to stitch in the ditch for the lapel... dang... look at that sweet stitching, you can't even see it in that seam line (right pic, above)

My fancy Nikon camera is officially out of service (it was dropped by someone by mistake, not me, but I did store it on a sort of not ideal spot, so...ughhh.)  Now I have to use an old point and click digital thing... and it sucks to go back.  It can't handle taking photos in anything but medium, non-direct sunlight, hence back porch photos for now.  But I did try to take some in the alley because the sky is so freakishly blue and it's not raining and I really like the aesthetic of Baltimore alley ways.

Monday, May 2, 2016

My Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Dress: Simplicity 1609

Hey, sewing people!!  I've not added anything to this blog in how long?!!  Well, I've been sewing a little less then usual because I have been a bit busy.  Life happens.  But that's not to say I'm not constantly thinking about sewing or having a project on my sewing table at all times still. I have been on Instagram pretty regularly though posting random projects, follow me if you want.

This here shift dress was sewn up for my latest Fabric Mart blog post.  I spotted this Lilly Pulitzer cotton pique on their website... but honestly I had no idea it was from that designer until I did a little internetting for inspiration and found it on some fashion bloggers' sites.  I was not a Lilly Pulitzer fan before exactly, I guess her clothing line has flown under my radar.  But this fabric is soo fun and summery and has lighthouses!!  I used Simplicity 1609, a reprint of a 1960s vintage pattern.  You can go on over to Fabric Mart's blog if you wanna read my full post of my lighthouse dress.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Jungle January!!! Jalie Cora Tights & Two Half Zip Tops

I've sewn up more running stuff for New Year's.  Surprised?!  But I made sure it was in keeping with the awesomeness of Jungle January.  This fabulous trio of Jalie things (the animal print tights, the animal print half zip and orange/black one as well) were all sewn up for my monthly Fabric Mart post found right here.   My two patterns are Jalie 2682 & 3462. I had most of the fabric in my stash already but if you're feeling saucy, they still actually have that print on their website in their Activewear category today.  I've nothing more to add here about the sewing of these fine wares, so go off and read the blog post over yonder if you want.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

My Batik Quilt

I rarely sew quilts and for other people.  I can count on one hand the total number of quilts I've made in my lifetime and how many people I've sewn for in the past few years.  I love me some quilts and the idea of making them but I've not made time to sew them up.  This one is for my mother-in-laws' Christmas present.  (Maybe you're reading this and I am ruining the surprise!?!) I went to the local quilting shop called Bears Paw Fabrics out in the burbs of Baltimore.  I am so overwhelmed with the options and colors and prints and solids and stuff that I chose to buy a couple of precuts.

I picked up this batik collection of 2 1/2 x 40" strips plus a jelly roll of solid whites.  I also got a few yards of solid white and an extra yard of a matching batik for the binding.  I used Cantik Batiks Gemstones, the colorway is called Canadian Rockies.  SOOOO juicy! This fabric is stunning!!  I was inspired by the Jelly Roll Race video here.  I didn't end up using this technique for this project though and just sewed all the batiks together into a huge rectangle.  This took on a couple hours on a day off work after getting all my wisdom teeth pulled the day prior.  The back of this quilt actually took a bit longer to make.

It was after I did my quilt top that I did my math for the yardage needed for the back.  Maybe it was the residual anesthesia but I was about a yard off in continuous white fabric.  So I got fancy and did some improvising with my cutting an piecing and used some of the batiks.  I think I love the design of the back more then the front.  My actual quilting is all straight lines, one centered in each strip in front.  The batting is Warm & Natural needled cotton batting... it helps give that slightly fluffed and wrinkled look I think.  The final dimensions are approximately 52 x 80" (132 x 203 cm).  It's meant to be a lap quilt or throw.  

After it was all done the other day, there was a bit of a near tragedy.  I wanted to pre-wash the quilt to give it that rumply bumpy look that I really like in a quilt.  So I toss it in the washer and out it comes half covered in both sides with a brownish reddish pinkish dye run on both back and front!!!!! Two of the deep brown tones ran like crazy... and it was dark, dark, dark!.  I didn't take pictures of that because I was in panic mode.  Long story short, I ran it through the wash again (three times!) with a small amount of detergent and a fair amount of that Oxi powder stain remover stuff.  It was maybe 65% gone.  Then I soaked it overnight in warm water with more of that Oxi stuff and ran it through a wash again.  95% GONE! No one would ever know that there was a mega dye stain on the bright white of this quilt... unless they were mean buttholes and got out a magnifying glass and looked closely.  

So there's my technicolor quilt.  I kinda love it, imperfections and all.  I feel like I can get away with not being technically skilled in this particular genre of sewing and still have really awesome results.  When I sew garments, I don't want it to look "handmde"... but with a quilt, I love the "handmade" appeal.  I do want to sew more of them.  And to learn free motion quilting so I can do some fancy pants quilting.  Do any of you guys who normally are garment sewing types quilt?  I generally think that there is an invisible line drawn between quilters and garment makers, you're either one or the other. AmIwrong?   I heart quilts and hope to do more really soon... among the 5894326736547 garments I want to sew as well still.

P.S. Do you guys use Instagram?  I've been using it regularly finally in the past couple weeks now that I've upgraded my phone.  Here I am on instagram, I'm kathhhhhy_sews.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Jalie 2680: A Wool Boucle Coat for Early Winter... & a general update

I've sewn me a late fall/early winter woolen coat.  I've worn it out in the world during the high 30s/low 40s F (2-7ish C) and it was just about right.  I wrote about my Jalie coat over on Fabric Mart's blog.  I love it.  It's very flattering on my figure.  Not much else to add here though.

I've been sewing so much in the past weeks, including this coat... hopefully I'll get to sharing other stuff, too.  I am getting an upgraded replacement phone this week, so hopefully I will be Instagram-ing more often as I work!  Plus, I just got back from Bear Paw's Fabric about an hour ago, a quilt shop in the burbs of Baltimore, where I spent a small fortune on material to make a really awesome quilt for a Christmas gift.  I've made a handful of quilts in my life and they are super satisfying-- they speak to the 2-D artist still hiding in me.  I have all of these ideas to make colorful, contemporary art quilts with urban landscapes inspired by Baltimore on them.  But that takes time and money.  Until then I'm doing a simple jelly roll quilt with modern lines and interesting natural color gradations. Yep, I know, quilting bores most apparel sewing seamstresses to tears.... I love functional art, so it's right up my alley.