Sunday, June 28, 2015

So Sew Easy Cowl Neck Top: A success or a horror?

I've been searching for a cowl neck blouse with a drape and fit that I like. Despite trying a number of patterns, I haven't found the perfect pattern in my quest for a TNT cowl. When I do, I think that I'll put a copy in my safe deposit box. I am getting closer. Don't you like the drape of this neckline?


The pattern is So Sew Easy Cowl Neck Top. It's a quick one hour top to sew and a great one for beginners. I felt beautiful wearing it and received lots of compliments - those cherished ones like, "Where did you buy it"?

The fabric is a rayon knit jersey. I made it in a size 4 with a size 5 for the side seams. I added 1" to the length (next time I'll take that away and reduce the length at least 1 inch).

Now, the horror part.This top was completed in February with the pictures waiting on the computer to be posted or deleted. To me, the pictures show my every figure flaw that I knew and some that I wasn't even aware of having. I'm doing the blog post because I believe that this is a great pattern with a lot of potential for me.



My notes for next time (Yes, there will be a next time):

1. Forward shoulder adjustment of 1/2".
2. Add 1" to width of shoulder seam (don't like fighting a bra strap showing).
3. Check depth of cowl. It's close to being too low for my modesty level now and may go lower with shoulder adjustments.
4. Reduce length 2 to 3 inches.

Since February, I finished a dress (pictures soon), almost finished the BOM quilt, built a new sewing table, started organizing my sewing room (more like a sewing store with so much stuff), and pulled a zillion weeds from the yard. The heat index around here is over 100 degrees so I only work in the yard during the early morning. That's more time in the sewing room. Yea!!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Silhouette 350: The Good and the Ugly

Love the pattern and love the colors. After looking at the pictures, the blouse will go into the the trash bin. First, I will use it as a guide for pattern adjustments. I definitely will make it again. The lines on the pattern are great. Believe it or not, I made a muslin first and worked very hard (too hard?) at fitting it. I should have made another muslin after making adjustments, but I will show you what is now muslin #2. I debated about not doing a blog post, but decided I want to use it for "the record" and someone may learn something from my errors.








My first mistake was using this turquoise fabric. Note to self: If you have trouble straightening the fabric, don't sew a garment with the fabric. This fabric was from my stash. I wish I could remember where I bought it so that I would be cautious shopping there again. The fabric was way off grain. I struggled to straighten it and  thought I had it, but the fabric does not hang well. I've started a pair of capris with this fabric - not sure if I will finish those or not. Another note to self: be sure to mark pivot points after making a muslin. If they change, matching under the seams is a nightmare.

I made a size 3 and tapered to a size 4 in the hips. I think the size is fine. While I made a 1/2" sway back adjustment, I need to increase it to 1" and carry through to the side front panel. The shoulder is so far forward that the sleeves are twisting...need a good inch adjustment there. The bottom of the sides have ridiculous looking "wings" - need to taper those in. The front tab needs to be interfaced although the pattern does not call for it. Honest, I sewed this straight - It just doesn't hang straight.

If anyone has any other suggestions, I will welcome them. This is a a good pattern that just needs work.

I haven't given up on sewing or blogging despite my long blog break. I had a particularly demanding tax season this year, signed up for a quilt block of the month with tiny pieces (a true test of my patience), and went on incredible cruise to the Panama Canal. I am not much on cruises but that's the best way to see the Panama Canal. My pictures don't do the Canal justice, but this one gives an idea of the incredible sight. I took it from the cruise ship as we were going through the Canal.


I'm off for happy sewing and wish the same for you!!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Rigel Bomber Finished

I finally finished my Rigel Bomber. I love it!!

This picture shows the jacket a little better. I'm not sure about the crazy expression on my face. I think that the sun is was in my eyes.

I probably will wear the jacket open unless it is really cold. I don't live in the Northeast so super cold days are rare.
The back fits pretty well although I'll make a slight sway back adjustment if I make it again. I did stretch the ribbing around the back neck so that it would fit snug against my neck.

Note to self:  Remember to take one or two pictures without my hands in the pockets. The fit actually is better than it appears. A lot of the winkles in the jacket are caused by my hand placement.

I'd like to make the Rigel Bomber again, but I'm not sure that I will. How many jackets do I need in Florida? I'm trying to focus on the many garments that I need for everyday wear. The Rigel Bomber sew-a-long actually got me side tracked. This winter has had many cool days so I do think that it will get lots of wear.

As for construction, I made a size S. With a 37 bust and 32.5 high bust, I still didn't need a full bust adjustment. It's rare that I don't need one. I sewed the side seams at 1/4 inch and still feel like it a bit snug for me. I'll add 1/2" to the side seams if I make it again. I struggled with the welt pockets, but they turned out okay for the first time. They really aren't that difficult. All I need is practice! I really pulled my hair out had to think about inserting the zipper. I had trouble figuring out how to put the zipper in before attaching the facing. The zipper is put right side down to the jacket, attached and folded over before attaching the facing. I forgot to baste the zipper first to check if it was even. I was lucky as I could not have gotten it any better with basting.

I'm off to the next project whatever that may be. Happy Sewing to you!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Year Sewing

My first completed project for the year was the long sleeve t-shirt version of Silhouette 195.
Although this is just a t-shirt, I need a white knit long sleeve top. I am sticking to my goal to spend most of my time sewing the casual clothes that I wear often. I've made this top many times. The fit is fine for a t-shirt, but I want to add some different necklines and other changes to this basic pattern. When I look at it closely, I can see that it needs some tweaking before I start getting creative. The changes I want to make for next time are:

1. Sew the darts 1/2" further into the bust line. The dart is not smooth enough at the end. I checked my sewing which looks perfect to me.

2. Do a 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment (not obvious in this photo).

3. Make a slightly smaller armhole by raising the side seam. Change the sleeve to fit.

These are so minor that I won't make them on this top. I guess I am lazy have other priorities.

Today I spent most of "sewing" time trying to figure out the self-timer on my camera. I have a Cannon G-15 that I got for Christmas last year. I was assured that I could purchase a remote for it. Well, I could but the remote has a cable that is only 6 feet long. I figured out how to add an extension which is long enough to work. The problem is the cord shows in pictures. Also, I almost tripped over it a couple of times. Husband is willing to take pictures if I can catch him. He is a sweetie, but not very patient with picture taking. I'm going to try the self timer. Yahoo!! I finally figured it out. Now, I only need a clear day. The weather here in Florida is dreary, really cold for us, and raining off on on.

I finished sewing the buttons on a blouse that I started this summer. It's hardly appropriate wear for this time of year, but I want to finish a few of those UFOs that are hanging around. It needs a final pressing and a sunny day for picture taking.

I need to get back to the welt pockets on my Rigel Bomber. I'm really nervous with them since this if my first time making welt pockets. Fortunately, I have enough fabric to cut new fronts if I mess up badly. I've cut between the welts and they look fine so far. The rest of the jacket should be a breeze. Yea, sure.

I hope your sewing and life in general are going well.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Rigel Bomber and Looking Ahead

I've joined Ginger and many others in the Rigel Bomber sewalong. Hopefully, sewing the Rigel Bomber will be easier than deciding what fabric to use. I guess that is the problem with such a large stash. Finally, I have narrowed my choices to two.

This is a cotton sateen, purchased from Fabric Mart last Spring with ribbing yardage from Sew Baby. I bought the fabric to make pants. While I think pants would be super cute in this fabric, I doubt that I would wear them very often. The zipper was purchased to make the Bomber which never happened.

This is a wool sweater knit and theory cotton to make the sleeves.  Both fabrics are from Mood. The zipper and ribbing are the same as choice #1.

My concern about Choice #l is the fabric is the same as the Bomber made by Shanni.  Only the zipper color is different. I'm not sure about using the sweater knit although interfacing it should make it work. I bought this fabric to make a cardigan. Yesterday, I decided to use the polka dot cotton because I just love it. After all, I gotta decide or the jacket will never happen. Maybe I'll just go for the Copy Cat Award of 2015. I just hope that Shanni believes that copying is the highest form of flattery.

The year 2014 was the worst ever as far meeting goals. It wasn't a bad year but far from the best. My major focus was getting my arm and shoulder flexibility back. I can't believe that it took me a year, but I'm 95% there. It only hurts when I do a lot of fabric cutting. My strength is slower at returning. Would you believe 3lb weights? It is an improvement from inability to lift a gallon of milk. Don't ever break your arm! (not that anyone would plan on doing that crazy thing) Although I made a few garments that I like, I didn't finish many. I would stop working on a garment because the task was hurting that arm. (That's my reason and I'm sticking to it.)

I broke the Ready to Wear Fast in August. I needed shorts to wear on vacation and could buy them for $5. There was no way that I was going to be able to sew them. My goal to blog about the garments I made was a failure. I still have 3 garments finished that have not appeared in the limited activity on this blog. They will be coming soon. As I set out to do in 2014, one of my goals is to blog about finished garments soon after completion.

Goals for 2015:

1. Focus on garments for casual, everyday wear. I need to think more about how often I will wear each garment I make.

2. Finish the bra making Craftsy course.

3. Finish 3 quilts. I have one quilt that needs borders and another where all the blocks are completed. The third is a block of the month that is offered by my local quilt shop. It is a wall hanging of downtown DeLand, FL where I live.

4. Improve knitting and crocheting.

5. Make progress with sewing room organization.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Dress I Love

I love this dress pattern, Silhouette 4014. So far, it's the first wrap style dress that fits well enough to wear.


The dress is made from 2  jersey panels. I'm not sure which I like the most: the soft jersey or the gorgeous floral designs. At cutout time, I was planning to copy the dress that Peggy Sagers (from Silhouette Patterns) showed on one of her webcasts. The only part that I copied exactly was the top back. From there, it was a "creative" cutting of the fabric that I had left.  I needed another panel to do an exact copy and the fabric was sold out. SURPRISE!! I probably didn't have 1/8 yd of scrap pieces. Anyway, I am happy with the results.

Two days have gone since I started this post. Hubbie came home with groceries so I had to stop writing. All those goodies had to be put in their proper places. Then, the laundry was dry so there was more to put up. Then, the holiday prep needed to start and then.... I imagine you know what I mean. It's so cold here that I feel foolish writing about a summer dress. The yard looks a lot different from the pictures, also. Winter has arrived in Florida. My daughter in PA would call our 40 degree temperature a heat wave.

I'll stop rambling and get to the details of this dress.



There is an angle wrap at the bottom of the skirt which is slimming. Believe me, I need all  the help that I can get.



The back facing is so long that I didn't have my usual problems with facing - uncomfortable and flipping up even with understitching.


I didn't make any adjustments to the pattern (rare for me) other than shortening it by 4 inches.
Here are some more pictures of the panel placement:



For the most part, the sewing was easy. It was a bit tedious attaching the back facing to the wrapped side seams. It wasn't hard, just took a little time.  I did have frog stitch (rip) the skirt because I ended up putting the side seams in the back. Next time I make this, I will mark the skirt sections so that won't happen again! If you look closely, you can see some ripples in some of the seams. I was sewing with one and a half arms since I didn't have full use of my broken arm. Believe me, it takes two arms to sew a proper seam on a knit. Because of the sewing, I was hesitant to wear it. I was sure everyone was looking at the seams. Well, not really but I knew the problem was there. DH likes the dress a lot and I got lots of compliments wearing it.

I have other projects completed and not photographed yet. Hopefully, I will get that done before summer is here. I almost have full range of motion in my right arm so that is no excuse now. I even did a strength video this morning for the first time and the 3 lb. weights felt too light. We'll see how it feels tomorrow. Tomorrow is house cleaning day with my boys and family coming for their second Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. Now, I'm off to cut out the red silk charmeuse shirt that I want to wear for the holidays.

Happy Sewing!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

OAL turns WDE

I thought experience improves sewing. Generally, it does. I just didn't learn from my experience with this dress that I made for the outfit sew-a-long. It is definitely my Worst Dress Ever. Here's the gem that somehow came out of my sewing room.

Yep, I was acting silly (might as well laugh at mistakes) and doing one of Lauren's (Ladybird) classic poses. The dress is S1803. If you want to see this dress made properly, check out Lauren's post . She made two awesome versions of this dress and has a number of tutorial posts for sewing it.

First, I'll talk about what I like about this dress. I was surprised that I could wear this style because it is quite different from my usual garments. I'll make it again at some point, but not right away. Also, I was pleased with the actual sewing of the dress. It was fun. The sewing isn't perfect, but is pretty good.

The problems began when I picked the fabric. I wanted a print and liked the colors which go perfectly with my OAL Myrna sweater. It has been resting in my stash for a very long time. Since it was a bit stiff, I washed it in coca cola. That helped and the drape seemed to be fine. I barely had enough fabric to cut out the dress. I tried to do some matching of the prints, but there was not enough fabric. I thought about stopping and using another fabric...sure wish that I had. Take a look at my scraps.


I did cut out the tie belt by shortening it a lot. Then, I decided that I didn't like it. Anyhow, I thought that I had the prints matched close enough at the seams but I was wrong. I was having fun sewing and didn't realize how bad it was until the photos. With the finished dress, I could see how cheap the fabric was. I doubt that I spent much because it's been around since I started sewing years ago.

This dress was a big disappointment. I won't say "learning experience" because I should have remembered what I already knew. I certainly was reminded!! I'm hoping my next sewing project will have better results.