A blog devoted primarily to garment sewing - with little splashes of quilting, crafts, and misc. sewing thrown in for variety.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Back Yoke Knit Top

After recently making McCall's 7284  in a woven fabric,  I decided I'd like a knit top with a back yoke.    So for this top, I used the back of the McCall's pattern and the  front of Vogue 9057.


The fabrics I used:  The print is an ITY I bought on-line several years ago - I think from FabricMart; the black is a thin rayon blend from Joann Fabrics; and the purple lace came from Walmart.  I also used the black underneath the lace.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Sewing Room Makeover

My sewing room had gotten so cluttered and out of control.  I've finally done a much needed clean up and reorganization.   It's not one of those pretty sewing rooms - it's a working room.

View from the door:

The main change I made was to take out a large desk that was in the corner and add two wire shelf units.   I had been storing fabric stacked on a countertop and in plastic totes underneath it.  And my machines were on the desk.  I moved the machines to the countertop and the fabric to the shelf units.   This is a much better arrangement.   Before, I didn't have access to my coverstitch or my mechanical machine without shuffling things around.    Now I have my machines set up and always ready to use.  Hopefully, I'll start using the coverstitch machine.
Moving out the desk meant giving up the drawers.  But, even though it was a nice desk, it just took up too much floor space.    Since the counter top just sits on a frame, I added some plastic drawer units underneath.   Since I don't have much natural light, I added an undercounter light and also a desk lamp.

For fabric storage, I bought 2 wire shelf units.  To protect the fabric from sunlight and dust,  I hung cloth shower curtains.  I could have made a curtain (I certainly have enough fabric), but it was just so much quicker and easier to use these.  They were very inexpensive and pretty.

I uncluttered and recovered my pressing/cutting table.

I made a small quilt design board.

I used a round belt hanger to hold my embroidery and quilt hoops and hung it on the end of the shelf unit.

I put hooks on the end of my cutting table to hang cutting mats

It's a small room, so I have to make every inch count.

I went through everything and got rid of things I don't use - some were passed to others and some went in the trash.  First, I went through supplies and notions: buttons, zippers, snaps, interfacing, craft supplies, etc.  Naturally, the biggest job was the fabric.  I gave away a lot of fabric.  And I threw away scraps and UFO's that were never going to get finished.  It feels good to let go of unnecessary things.

I still have things I want to do, such as: cover some boxes, drill holes in the counter for the cords to fit through, organize the contents of the drawers, etc.  And now that I can get to my dress form, I want to repad it.  Overall, I'm happy with the makeover and enjoy spending time in there.

One of my favorite things in my sewing room is this clock; it was a birthday gift from my Mom several years ago.

Monday, May 30, 2016

June plans & May recap

Nightgown - B6838
Put Riley's quilt together & let her tack it
Draft skirt muslin
Finish organizing fabric
Knit maxi dress - B6330
Black top

May recap
another harness for Paisley - NO
wrap pants - Simplicity 4192 - NO
2 summer nightgowns - 1 finished & plans for the next
dress - McCall's 7242 - NO
wrap skirt - McCall's 5430 - NO
cushions for porch - YES (made 4)
work on Riley's quilt - YES, sewn together & ready to tack

McCall's 7284 Top

This is a great pattern.

I love the neckline - it's a nice faced V.   It's not too low and it lays nice and flat.

I also love that the gathered bodice has just the right amount of fullness - it doesn't look like a maternity top.  I love the band across the bottom. 

It wasn't quite as long as I thought it would be.  So instead of hemming it, I added a narrow strip to the bottom.

The armholes are small and high and when I inserted the sleeves, they were too tight.  So,   I made it sleeveless.  I put self-fabric bias binding on the armholes.

I changed the way the front yoke attaches to the lower bodice as I don't like trying to do inset corners.

I love sewing cotton woven tops.  And they are perfect to wear in hot, humid summer heat.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


I decided my porch needed a facelift, so I've cleaned and freshened it up.

I re-stained the porch swing, rocking chair, Adirondack chair and footstool, the sewing table, and the floor.

My rocking chair had a sad, flat, faded cushion that definitely needed to be replaced.  Here's the new and improved version:   I love my comfy new cushions!


 My sewing table was drab, so I re-stained the legs and covered the top with contact paper.

New throw cushion

And I got a new rug.   It really brightens up the porch!

Dining area:


Now, to enjoy sitting on it.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

May Plans

First a review of how I did in April
Start on summer handbag - started but didn't get very far
Harness for Paisley - made 1 but it's not quite right, so need to try again
Make wearable pants - made 1 pair
Work on Riley's & MIL's quilts - worked on Riley's

So overall, not too bad

For May, I want to sew:

another harness for Paisley
wrap pants - Simplicity 4192
2 summer nightgowns
dress - McCall's 7242
wrap skirt - McCall's 5430
cushions for porch
work on Riley's quilt

That's a lot and probably more than I can finish, but I can roll unfinished items over into June.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

McCall's 7286 Polka Dot Top

I bought this pattern on Thursday and made it the next day.   I bought it because of the raglan sleeves and the 2 hemline options.   I made the first view - with short sleeves and rounded hem.   I plan to make the other view too.

I started with my usual size medium.  Since it's described as close-fitting and I like my tops loose through the middle, I started just below the bust and added a little to both the center and side seams.   I also made a swayback adjustment too.  The fit turned out perfect.  And the neckline fits so nice - just high enough and narrow enough. 

I love polka dots and love this fabric.  It's a very soft cotton knit that I got at Joann's a year ago and paid $2.50 yard.   I bought 4 yards and only used 1 yard for this top.  The white is a small piece I had left over from something else.

I wanted some basic summer tees that are pretty and fit better than RTW.   And I'm happy with how this first one turned out.  Now onto the next one.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Sewing With My Granddaughter

I'm helping my 7 year old granddaughter make a simple flannel quilt. 

This was her first time using a sewing machine.  I'm surprised at how well she did.  She understood when I explained how the machine worked and was able to thread it by herself and sew a straight line from the beginning.

The puppy wants to "help"

The first time using an iron.

More blocks

The only part I did was the cutting.  Riley decided how she wanted to put the blocks together, pinned them, sewed them and pressed them.  She's really enjoying working on it and it's so nice spending time together. Once we get all the blocks made, we'll tack it together.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

BWOF Pants

The goal is to make pants that are both comfortable and look good.  I've read books, researched, taken on-line classes, tried various fit alterations, and made many, many test pants.  And rarely have I been happy with the results. But This pair comes pretty close.

This is an old BWOF magazine pattern,  from March 2006.  It's just a basic trouser pattern with fairly slim legs.  It has front pockets similar to jeans pockets.  I made a size 44.

My fabric is olive green stretch woven that I most likely bought at Joann Fabrics.  I've been labeling my fabric for several years and since this wasn't labeled, it's been in my stash for quite a while.   Since it has lycra in it, I was afraid they might really stretch out while I was wearing them.  But after wearing them all day, they stilled looked pretty good.

Alterations I made: I lengthened the side seams by adding 1/2 inch to the top of the waist on front & back and I added 1/2 inch to the back crotch point. 

My main fit issue in both RTW and self-made is a fold/wrinkle under the seat.  It's less in this pair, but still there on the right side.   I feel like I'm making some progress.