Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sewing Goals for 2013

Here's my list of sewing goals for next year:

1. Learn to make panties.
2. Use my coverstitch machine more.
3. Blog more often.
4. Make a quilt for my bedroom.
5. Re-pad my dressform.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Rhonda's Free Pattern: I want to make this!

Look at this cool jacket!

It was created by Rhonda Buss and she was nice enough to share it with us.

Rhonda's Creative Life: Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

Saturday, November 24, 2012

S2633 Blue Paisley Vest

I've been so obsessed with pants since September that I've hardly sewn anything else, or actually thought about anything else.  But I did make a vest in October using this Simplicity pattern.

This vest has princess seams on the front & back-which gives it a nice fit.

The pattern also includes a shirt pattern that has a couple different neckline & sleeve options.

I used a purplish/blue paisley print flannel that I've had in my stash for a few years.  I always loved it, but it was such a small piece that I didn't know what to use it for.   I usually use a size 14 pattern for Simplicity tops, but I made this in a 16 since it looked pretty close fitting on the envelop.  I'm glad I went up a size because the 16 is a perfect fit.   The only thing I had trouble with was the ruffle collar.  I tried to line it, but it was just too bulky & I could not get it to lay right.  So I cut a new ruffle and hemmed it using my narrow hem foot - turned out pretty good.

I used a small scrap of white satin (also from stash) for the lining.

I added buttons to the "pocket" flaps.

Here's a couple close ups of the neck ruffle.

I like how it turned out; now just waiting for it to get cold enough to wear it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Knit Top - Simplicity 3790

I made a knit top using Simplicity 3790, but I made so many changes that mine doesn't really look like the pattern. I started with view F, added the sleeves from View E, plus added a bottom band from View C.

The way I used my fabric changed the look too. I had a small piece of a print fabric leftover from another project that I like a lot.  But it was really too small to make anything.  So I decided to use the print for the front and black for the rest of the top.  And I really like how it turned out.

Since the weather was still nice, I decided to get some outside shots.  No pictures of the back as it's just a plain black top.

I made a size 14 and the fit is very good.  I made my usual alteration & trimmed a little off the shoulders.  I also lowered the neckline a little and made the sleeves longer.  I like how the neckline fits - not too wide across. I also like the gathers at the center front - just enough without being too full and loose.  Until I added the bottom band, the top was pretty short.  This pattern has four different neckline options and several sleeves choices, so a lot of variety in one pattern.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Nook Cover

I finally finished my Nook cover and I love it.  It protects my Nook, it makes it easier to hold, plus it's so pretty!  Before starting, I looked at a lot of different styles and decided I wanted a cover that looks and opens like a book.   The problem I had was what to use on the corners that would hold the Nook in place. I tried making fabric corners and different size elastic.  Then a friend suggested using narrow elastic headbands. I got mine at the Dollar Tree - a package of 8 for $1.00.  They're about 3/8" wide and come a lot of different colors. I cut 1 band into 4 equal size pieces, and it worked perfectly for the corners.  I used fusible fleece batting to make the cover padded, and used plastic craft canvas for support and body.  To hold it closed, I added a flap with a strip of velcro.  When I'm holding it like a book, I can fold the cover back, and the velcro holds it in place.  It's also rigid enough that it can be stood on its edge.  Which is handy when I'm reading a recipe from it while cooking.  Overall, I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Another Handbag-McCalls 6579

After making the last bag, I was still in the mood to make another one.  For this one, I started with M6579, view C, but cut it with 3 sections like in view A. 


The bags in this pattern are fairly large.  The view I used is for a bag that's 16" wide x 15".  I reduced the size for mine and made it 13-1/2" wide x 12" tall.  I added a small inside zippered pocket and 2 outside zippered pockets.  The small outside pocket is between the straps & I use it for my cell phone and keys.  In order to make the pocket on the other side larger, I stopped sewing the straps a little lower down. I use this pocket for papers, receipts, coupon, etc. I really like the top edge of the bag; the way that it's curved & how the zipper is attached.  This is a Nancy Zieman pattern, so the instructions are very good.

The fabric I used was a panel I picked up at a local fabric/craft outlet.  For the lining, I used some home decor fabric leftover from another project.  I like how the pattern is divided into 3 pieces.  Cutting like this allowed me to utilize the fabric panel in such a way as to highlight the colors best.  I attached the straps in between the bottom 2 pieces and inserted the zippered pockets in between the top 2 pieces.  For the straps I used 1" wide cotton webbing from Joann Fabrics and 1" silver "D" rings. 

I really like how the bag turned out.  It's just the right size and the fabric is so pretty.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bucket Bag

I entered another contest on Pattern Review.  This was a 2 week challenge contest to make a handbag.  Since I had never made one, I decided I wanted to try a bucket style bag.  

Inspirations for my bag.

I like the combination of
different fabrics and leather.

I like the straps on this one.

My Review

Description: A bucket bag style handbag.

Size: Finished size is 11 inches tall, 15-1/2 inches wide at the top, with a 7 inch bottom. The straps are 1-1/2" wide and 24" long. I added 2 inside zipper pockets and 2 small zipper pockets on the outside. I use the inside ones for papers, receipts, etc. and the outside ones for keys and cell phone.

Fabric Used: I used upholstery fabric for the body; vinyl for the bottom, straps and a 2" wide strip along the sides; and a brown twill for the lining. The vinyl was easy to sew, but the needle made little holes in it. So if (or when) I made a mistake, it shows up. No way to undo that, so I just try not to see it To add more interest, I cut the bag with the design of the fabric running crossways on one side. On the other side I turned it to run the design up and down, plus added a 2 inch wide strip of the vinyl along the sides. The tacks on the straps are purely decorative. I use some antique brass upholstery tacks I found in my supplies. I pushed them through & bent over the backs to hold them in place. I used small pieces of the vinyl to make ends on the zipper.

Pattern Used: I didn't have a pattern for this style bag, so I drafted my own.

Did it look like the photo once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it turned out like I had envisioned.

Conclusion: I love making handbags. It's great to be able to make it the size I want with the pockets I want and the straps the length I want. I don't normally use a pattern, just have an idea and then make it up as I go along. Sometimes this works out & sometimes not. But overall, I'm pleased with how this one turned out.

Now the pictures of my bag:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Simple Skirts - No Pattern Required

I made 2 really simple skirts. 

The first one is a knit maxi. I cut 2 rectangles to total a little bigger than my hip measurement & long enough to hem and add an elastic waist casing.  Next time, I will make it one piece with the seam up the back & leave a walking slit.  I've worn this to work & it is super comfortable, and I love the floral print.

Next up is a skirt I made from a cotton woven remnant I found in my stash.  Same method as the first except I made it a little bigger since it's a woven & has no stretch.  And since it wasn't quite long enough, I added a piece of gathered eyelet to the hemline, also found in my stash. Yellow is one of my favorite colors & I love the old-fashioned look of the fabric combined with the eyelet.  I haven't worn this yet, but I'm sure it'll be cool for these hot days we've been having.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Additions to the Sewing Room

I finally got my coverstitch!  A Janome Coverpro 1000CPX.  Isn't she pretty?  I had called the local Janome dealer and was quoted a price more than I wanted to pay.  So based on a recommendation from an on-line sewing friend,  I called Thomas Sewing Center (  They had a floor model that had only been demonstrated a couple of times & sold it to me at a discount.  They were very friendly & I definitely go back to them in the future.  I need to order some accessories and of course learn to use it.

Look at my other new sewing toy.  2 Greist buttonhole makers.

I have an old Alden sewing machine that is from the early 1970's that sews great and I wanted to get a buttonhole maker for it.  Trouble was, there are several different models & I had no idea which one would fit my machine.  Then I happened to be reading on PR & someone has made a list of which buttonhole makers fit which type of machine and was able to figure out that I needed a #7.   And as luck would have it, someone else wrote that they had 2 #7's that they couldn't use and asked if anyone wanted them.  I immediately wrote to her that I would love to have one of them and how much $.   She was so nice, sent both of them to me for FREE!  And best of all, they are both in excellent condition & work great on my machine!  Now I need to make something with buttonholes on it :)


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just 1 more: McCall's 5138 again

I decided to make 1 more shirt from this pattern.  I picked up the fabric at Joann's last week.  It was on the red tag table and was 50% off - so only $4.00 a yard.  It has just a little bit of stretch to it.  For the fabric, buttons & thread, I have about $10.00 in this shirt.  For this version, I added cuffs and tabs to the sleeves and breast pockets.  I cut the sleeve cuffs and pockets on the diagonal to add more interest.  I love how this shirt fits me, so I traced a permanent copy onto plastic sheeting.  It's amazing how comfortable clothing can be when it fits properly!

Here's a few pictures:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

PR Contest-McCalls 5138 Blouse Review

This is my entry for the PR "One Pattern, 
Many Looks" contest.  I needed some 
summer blouses & this contest 
was just the incentive I needed.  
The rule was to use 1 pattern and
make at least 2 variations of the same
item.  I used this pattern and made
3 short sleeve blouses.

Description:Misses fitted blouse with front & back horizontal darts; sleeve length options, convertible collar, and shaped hem.

Sizing:I made size 14 at shoulders going out to sz 16 at hips. Note that this is a close fitting blouse. So for the 2nd & 3rd versions, I added a little to the side seams to get a little looser fit.

Fabric Used: For my 1st version, I used a cotton blend from WalMart that I paid $1.50 a yard. It’s actually nice and such a pretty watercolor print. It doesn’t wrinkle much, but does ravel quite a bit. For my 2nd version, I used a light weight cotton that I got at a local fabric store. It has a textured design on it. For the 3rd version, I used a cotton from Joann Fabrics. I believe it’s a “quilting” cotton, but it’s heavier than most and comes out of the dryer hardly wrinkled and has a very nice feel to it. And I LOVE the print.

Pattern alterations and design changes :I took 1" off the shoulder - this is a standard alteration for me. Changes for View 2 and 3: added to side seam; omitted the front vertical darts; increased bust dart a little; made a sway back adjustment; added 2 inches to the length.

Sleeves: version 1 has a narrow band; version 2 is plain; version 3 has cuffs in contrasting fabric.

I changed how the back neck is faced. The pattern has you to clip the undercollar, fold under and stitch to cover the seam. I did this on my 1st blouse, but I don’t really like this method. So, for the 2nd & 3rd versions, I used a bias strip as a “mini facing”. I think this is much better; it’s neater and actually easier to do.

Love this & will do all my collars this way from now on.
I made the collar using this method.  collar

Conclusion: Now that I’ve got the fit right, I love this pattern. It’s a basic blouse that’s quick and easy to make. Only 4 pattern pieces: front, back, collar and sleeve. Plus the sleeve band or cuff, if you like. And it’s well drafted; everything fits together very well. The only issue I have is that there’s a little too much ease in the sleeve cap. I would definitely recommend this pattern.

First blouse

I didn't make a sway back adjustment on the 1st one, 
but did on the 2nd & 3rd,  and the fit is so much better.

3rd blouse

with sway back adjustment

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Handbags, Totes & Purses

I wanted to post some pictures of my latest handbag projects.  Most of my bags are from self drafted patterns and generally more of a tote bag style with several zippered pockets and all are basically the same size and shape. I enjoy making bags, plus it's nice to have one with all the pockets that I want.  And now that I've learned how to make zippered pockets, I can make one pretty quickly.

This first bag is made from home decor fabric with a light-weight printed denim for the lining.  Both fabrics are left over from other projects.  I made the straps by using a piece of the body fabric for one side & the lining fabric for the other.  I put 1-1-/2" wide webbing inside the straps.  I like using the webbing since it gives extra strength & structure without the bulk that interfacing adds.

Next up is a bag I make from black twill.  I bonded a rooster-chicken panel to both sides of the bag & then applied black bias tape around the edges.  The lining is a piece of home decor fabric left over from another project.  For the straps, I used a 2 inch wide webbing I picked up at Joanne Fabrics.   I normally make my straps 1-1/2" wide, but after making this bag, I realized I like the 2" wide a lot better.  This bag ended a little bigger than most of my bags.  Which can be a bad thing since I tend to keep adding stuff until it's so heavy I can't carry it! :)

This green bag is the most recent one I've made.  It's one that I actually bought the fabric with the intention of using it for a bag.  I love paisley prints & and really into green right now.   I used the green stripe for the top panel of the purse and the lining.  And used the paisley for the bottom panel and the straps.  I inserted the straps in the seam line between the top and bottom panels.  I also put a zippered pocket in the seam.  This one has two zippered pockets on the outside and one pocket on the inside.  I used a magnetic snap instead of a zipper on this bag.  I've never seen a magnetic snap so strong.  It's actually causing the fabric to tear!  I'm going to have to do some repair on it.  The true color of this fabric is like the picture on the right.