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Monday, August 31, 2009

Fall 2009 SWAP

Pattern Review's SWAP contest runs September - November, so I'm excited to work the fall sewing I had planned into the contest.  Joining a sewalong or contest always keeps me motivated to get things done instead of jumping from one project to the next.

Here's my plan, kind of:

You can see I don't have a lot of patterns picked out yet.  I do have my fabrics, though, for the most part.  The whole thing centers around the jacket, which I'll make first and hopefully enter in the September jacket contest.  I've been pining over this jacket for a while.

In addition to the jacket, there are 5 tops, all knits, since I end up wearing those much more than woven tops.  Then, there are 4 bottom.  I'm not all sold on my bottoms fabrics, yet.  I think I have enough denim for pants (trouser-style... I'm not ready to sew real jeans yet) and a skirt.  I also have enough khaki.  That would make for a boring SWAP bottom collection, though, so I threw in the embroidered corduroy for fun.  I'm not sure of a good skirt pattern for that, though.  Simple A-line?

Cutting and sewing can start tomorrow, so I'm going to trace my jacket pattern and add seam allowances tonight after the boys are in bed.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I thought I'd try a little stenciling before making this green t shirt.  Tonight, I cut out the shirt and pinned some seams.  I'll probably get it sewn up during naptime or after the boys' bedtime tomorrow.  Here's a little recap of my first stenciling process:

I drew the bamboo picture freehand, based on some pictures I found online.  For the stencil, I used a file folder.  I taped it onto a cutting mat (a rotary cutter mat for quilting) and taped my drawing on top.  

I used a razor to cut through both layers of paper...
leaving me with my folder stencil.
I used a stiff, short paintbrush and regular fabric paint, being careful not to slant the brush and get paint underneath the stencil.
I also taped the stencil to the fabric to make sure it didn't shift.  Here is the stencil, painted over.
and, voila!  My painted fabric.

I think it turned out well for my first attempt.  It's a pretty subtle effect, which I was going for.  We'll see how it looks made up in the shirt tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My first Vogue 8379!

I may be the last sew-er to make this pattern.  It's extremely popular on the blogs and Pattern Review.  I didn't bother doing a review on PR since there are already over 60.  Yes, it's a great pattern.
I used a poly jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It appears to be sold out now, but there are lots of other beauties there now.  I'm finding it hard to resist her jersey prints lately (just ask my husband).

I was able to cut this out of 2 yards of fabric although the envelope calls for 2.5 or more.  The only change I had to make was to shorten the hem about 4 inches.  I think it's fine.  My knees have a few good years left in them!

I did originally put on 3/4 sleeves and asked my husband's opinion.  "A little 70s" was his 2 cents, so I cut them to short sleeve length.  I have to agree, this looks more modern to me to use the short sleeves in this print.
Nothing much else to say.  I love this dress.  It's so comfy.  It's great now since it's so light, but the colors lend themselves to be worn with a sweater into fall.

Since I'm trying to be more stylish, here it is a la Michelle Obama, with cardigan and belt.  :-)  A black belt would probably be more flattering, though.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Maxi Madness!

Here's my maxi dress!  I'm really happy with it.  As everyone says, it is super comfy.  I don't think it's particularly cool to wear, though.  I wore it while cutting out another pattern and kept hiking it up above my knees because it was HOT!
I'll definitely be wearing this a lot at the beach this fall.  It's really a beach dress... made for days spent lounging and relaxing with a cup of tea (ok, beer) by the water.  How much do I love that both my parents and my in-laws have homes near the water!?  

The back looks a bit crooked in this photo.  I was careful to measure the straps so they were the same length after adjusting them to fit, so maybe it's my body that's crooked.
To make this, I used a Stacy London pattern - Butterick 4657.  It's not made for a knit, but it fit fine with my normal size 10, straight from the envelope.  The back could have been a bit snugger, but I like it a bit loose for comfort (see wearing plan above).  I put in bra cups between the bodice lining and top fabric, and I put inch-wide elastic all around below the bust to keep it close to the body.  The skirt is unlined.  To make the skirt, I just used all the fabric that was left, cut two rectangles as wide as I could and floor length, and then gathered at the center tops to fit the bodice.  For reference, this gave me about 3 inches of ease at the hips.  

Below is a photo taken during construction.  You can see the gathered sections of the bodice overlay were way big in the knit.  This is where a dress form would have come in very handy.  I ended up just draping the bottom of the bodice on me in front of a mirror.  It worked out fine.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Maxi Dress progress

Sorry, still no photos, but a quick update on my maxi dress:  It's required a lot of tweaking and trying on and modifying so that I can wear it without a bra and still be supported in my currently large state.  In addition to sewn in bra cups, I added a circle of elastic around my ribcage (kind of like a cami's shelf bra) to keep everything up where it belongs.  That worked great.  I'm finally happy with the bodice now, so tomorrow, the skirt goes on.  Hopefully will have finished pictures to post on Friday.  I'm excited!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Spaghetti straps

I worked on my maxi dress today, and I was making the spaghetti straps with elastic inside them this evening.  As I was uttering every curse word under the sun, my husband reminded me that I swore I would never make spaghetti straps again while making this dress.  Looks like I lasted a month.  Tomorrow night, I'll be sewing in bra cups.  We'll see how that goes...

I'm using some pieces from this dress for the bodice.



I have nothing to show.  My father-in-law is visiting, so I haven't been sewing much.  I have two half-finished tops that need some hand-stitching, and last night, I cut out the maxi dress.  I had vowed to do better with only working on one project at a time... um yeah...

I'm also pre-washing the fabrics for my older son's quilt.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wadder? What do you think?

So I had a remnant of really beautiful silk - like 50 Euro/meter silk.  I had .6 meters, so I had to find a pretty simple top.  The pattern is BWOF 08-2009-114, kind of.  


Due to the fabric restriction, I didn't cut separate sleeves - I just added them to the front piece and even then, they're not as long as they should be.  The effect is just sleeveless.  The top is also a few inches shorter than the model.  

I also didn't really understand how to do the gathering and facings, so I just kind of winged it, and mine are more like large pleats.  

Still trying to decide whether to finish it.  I tried it on just alone like in the magazine, and I tried it with a couple different belts (which I never wear except in belt loops - I'm branching out!).  

I haven't finished the sleeve or bottom edges.  I'll just do a small rolled hem if I decide to finish it.  

What do you think?

The pattern is BWOF 08-2009-114.

If I scrap it, I'll have a lovely silk scarf...

BWOF 01-2009-110

We had a party to go to on Saturday, so I decided on Thursday afternoon that I wanted a new top to wear!  Here's the result:
The pattern is BWOF 01-2009-110.


The fabric is rayon jersey from Emma One Sock.  This particular fabric is long sold out, though.  This is actually the fabric I was planning to use for my maxi dress until I realized I had only bought a yard.  I loooooooove this fabric.  I'm really picky about what prints I like, and I love this one.  

I love this top with white pants, but I think I'll be able to wear it into fall with jeans or khakis.  I think it'd be cute with a jean skirt and boots.  

Next up, I'll be asking for some opinions on a not-so-great top...  Can't decide if it's a wadder, though.

Here's my pattern review.

Pattern Description: A long-sleeved, mock-wrap-over top in jersey with plunging neckline. 

Pattern Sizing: European 38-46. I made a straight 38.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn't use them. My BWOFs are in German, and my German is poor. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I didn't think I'd make this up when I got the magazine in January, but when I got this jersey, I remembered this pattern. I think I just didn't like it as much made up in the linear pattern they show. 

I like the wrap-over neckline and the slight gathering into the side piece. The neckline is typical BWOF-low. Actually, when I first put in on the morning, it's fine, but it doesn't stay put, so I've been wearing a cami under it. I think I'll tack the center together, and it will be fine without a cami.

Fabric Used: rayon jersey from

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: just the sleeves - mine are just below the elbow. I confess this was necessary since I ran out of fabric, but I think it's a nice length for summer into fall, anyway.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I think I'll sew it again with long sleeves, in a beefier jersey for fall/winter. Definitely recommend it.

Conclusion: Cute knit top with a twist. If you have the pattern, go for it!