Friday, October 13, 2017

McCall's 7595, Vogue 8926, and McCall's 6886

Its become our family tradition to escape to the South Carolina coast for fall break and I LOVE it- the crowds are next to non-existent, the weather isn't scorching and I get a great excuse to squeeze in just a few last summer sewing projects!   

The two projects featured here were a part of my October post for Fabric Mart Fabrics (you can read that post here) and the fabrics were a joy to sew.

I wanted to give a few details about the sewing involved with these projects on this platform.  So here we go... 

McCall's 7595:

For this cute dress, I muslined the bodice and I highly recommend doing so if you plan on making it.  To my eye, the dress on the pattern envelope looks fitted and is described as fitted but I had to make quite a few changes to get mine to fit.

First of all I pinched out under bust darts and added that to the pattern.  I knew that it would help pull in the empire waist and I did not like the volume I was seeing there.  You can see from the side view photo that there is still quite a bit of volume in that area and you need some to be able to pull the dress over your shoulder area.

Second I took in the side seams on the bodice a smidge, and I can't say exactly because I don't remember.  I also pulled the elastic across the top back very tight and still it could've been pulled tighter.  In truth it really needs a different solution back there, the elastic is 1/4' elastic, as instructed in the pattern but it doesn't hold up to the weight of the skirt.  I finally ended up pinning the back to my strapless bra to ensure that it didn't slip down too much.  Not a solution I prefer but I ran out of time to change things up.

If there is a next time I will probably add a channel of wider, sturdier elastic to the back or add some shirrring.  

One final bodice tweak was to sew up the front opening quite a bit.  I know that many would choose to leave it open and if that works for your lifestyle- fantastic!  But for me I knew I would be more comfortable with it sewn up.

Third, I added two snaps to the neck closure along with the recommended hooks and bars.  I really didn't want any awkward wardrobe malfunctions during my belated anniversary dinner so this made me feel everything would stay put!

That about sums up my changes, I really enjoyed wearing the dress, it was perfect for our belated beach anniversary dinner out and rayon challis is always so soft and comfortable.

This rayon challis, in particular is very good in quality.  I have sewn with others that weren't quite as substantial.  It was made for Tori Richards and I can always count on any designer fabrics from Fabric Mart being of the best quality.

Now on to this wrap jacket/top.  I LOVE this little piece, I have worn it several times since making it and plan on many more wears!  I am a sucker for anything wrap so I could be biased in my love for this piece!

The pattern is Vogue 8926 and I have had it in the stash for some time and always pulled it out and put it up not feeling quite ready to tackle it.  The instructions for finishing the inside are very basic and would leave the garment quite vulnerable on the inside so I knew I would need to do some head scratching and configuring.  I ended up sewing the facings down to enclose those seams and mostly serging everything else.  The fabric was a little ravely and tended to fray a bit so in order for me to get a lot of use out of this I wanted it to hold up to many washings and wearings.

To get the look pictured here, I made a few additions to the pattern.  I gave the jacket split hems, rows of stitching (a few extra rows on the center front area), belt carriers and an unattached belt.  I really feel these small extra touches elevate a piece, giving it some depth and interest.  

I know I can get some great use out of this as both a jacket and top since the fabric is a great light weight tencel/rayon blend.  Its soft too!  I can think of a lot of used for a chambray like this one, shirt dress, button down shirt, shift or sheath dress, a cute A-line dress with top stitching....

The dress pictured with this jacket is a McCalls 6886.  Its made up in a techno knit from Fabric Mart and the only change made to it was to add back fisheye darts.  It is such a simple, quick and satisfying make. 

Well there's the sewing details of these makes, I hope they are helpful to anyone who would like to sew these up.  Many times a pattern is a starting place for a look you'd like to achieve and although it takes a little more effort to muslin, pin in darts, or add rows of stitching, I am never sorry that I took the extra time to make changes since it really ups my love for the resulting garment.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Is it Caftan or Kaftan?

Is it Caftan or is it Kaftan...I don't know, but this beach cover-up was super useful during our recent vacation and it was super simple to sew too!

We recently returned from our much anticipated fall beach vacation and I found myself throwing this cover up over my bathing suit everyday, I like to have something to cover my suit when walking to the beach.  I also like to throw it on when I feel its time to shield myself from the sun.  

I picked up this pattern at a thrift shop this summer and knew that it would be a great cover up for all my time at the poolside and beach.  As you can see from the pattern envelope it is a really simple sew with only three pattern pieces!  I love the ease of sewing up this garment since, its something that I plan to get sunscreen, sand, and ocean water all over and don't want to over complicate the process of making it. 

 The fabric is a rayon challis from Fabric Mart and bought some time ago at a really inexpensive price point, if I am remembering correctly!  Its a super soft fabric and although it does not have the fine quality that their designer brand rayon challis has, it's good enough for a cover up. 

I love rayon challis, admittedly it can be a real pill to sew but it has such a soft feel and drapes so beautifully that I can't resist it!  I recently used another gorgeous Fabric Mart challis to make a great maxi dress.  I blogged that make for them on the Fabricista blog (you can read that here) and hope to do a run down on the slight changes I made to that dress here, hopefully in the near future! 

Happy Sewing and Thanks for Reading!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Getting My Mom Beach Ready

I love to make something for my Mom every now and then and it occurred to me that she might love to have a kimono to wear on our beach trip.  I love making pieces for her like this one since the sizing is forgiving and the project is fairly quick to whip out.  I think this would be a perfect project for a beginner sewist.

I've previously made a Simplicity kimono for myself (for last years beach trip) and while I love that pattern I think this one (which is Butterick 6464) has some really great features.  The shape flares out at the bottom and the kimono sleeves bell out and drape into a really pretty shape.  I also love the collar on this, the way that it lays up against the neck is so pretty and for someone like my Mom, who has narrow shoulders the weight of this collar holds the kimono in place really nicely.  

The chiffon fabric used here was partially salvaged from a failed wrap dress made for the Fabric Mart Fabricista contest way back when.  I held on to it along with the fabric remnants for an opportunity just like this one!  I loved the fabric and didn't want to just throw it out or donate.  The pink linen is left over from a Fabric Mart make as well.  The chiffon is floaty and the linen helps the whole kimono drape better that something light weight would have.

As far as cutting out the chiffon, I used tissue paper underneath and it worked well.  The shape of the pattern pieces cooperate with chiffon.  I used a serger to construct the chiffon and my regular machine for the rest.  I referenced the directions but went my own way in construction. 

My Mom loves this kimono and I think was just as tickled as I was that it looked so fabulous on her.  She is already making outfit plans, scheming about what is in her closet that would look great with it.  

I can't wait to see her wearing it at the beach and now have a great pattern to make her something special with in the future!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Flint Again

I made the Megan Nielsen Flint pant again (!) and I love them, AGAIN! 

I originally made the Flint pant as a tester last fall and that pair was more work appropriate, made up in a stretch pinstripe suiting.  For this pair I really wanted something more everyday, casual that would work great for our, you guessed it, beach trip.  Yep, still sewing for that.  What can I say, I really do better with my sewing if I have some goal to work toward, I am hugely productive when that is the case.  For some reason lately the beach trip has been motivating my sewing more that all the contests at Pattern Review. 

 In any case, these turned out awesome.  I love them and have worn them two days in a row after making them.  Sometimes I wonder about the shape of these, are they flattering-are they not...but I come back to the fact that I really enjoy wearing them and that's what matters most! 

The fabric is from Fabric Mart Fabrics, and I believe it is a tencil/poly blend or cotton/poly blend chambray.  It has a little stretch and isn't shirt weight or bottom weight, somewhere in between.  So it feels very light, is opaque but not too light.  Helpful for you to know all that, I'm sure!  

I believe it was a "Julie's Pick," and if you aren't familiar with Julie's pick, its a monthly subscription over at Fabric Mart.  You receive samples of gorgeous fabrics each month that only subscribers can purchase.  You also receive a set on monthly coupons which are really good, things like free bundles, free shipping, discount this or that...good stuff.  Worth it if you are new to sewing and trying to familiarize yourself with fabric types.  

As far as construction, and fit, I made the size Medium, like last time.  I also changed the waistband interfacing a little (since it is folded over on itself I added interfacing to only one half the length of the waistband so that it wouldn't be too restrictive or stiff) and added quarters to the hemline to weigh them down (one at each seam at the hem, four total).  This is not my original idea, I read about it on Erika Bunker's blog and thought it was a great tip!

The top is McCalls 6963 and is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern, I love these for the alteration lines that they include on the pattern pieces.  I should've narrowed the shoulders on this one and will do so the next time I make it.  I will also have to rethink the back neck finishing, maybe adding a dart.  It sits out away from my neck a bit.  I like that this is a T-shirt pattern with a little something extra with the cowl neck.  The fabric is from Fabric Mart as well and was included in a free bundle.  I am pretty sure its a rayon/lycra.   


My eight year old is my fashion photographer and in exchange for her time and talents I have to oblige her photo direction and pose however she instructs.  This pose is called "super mom" however I think it looks more like an off kilter yoga pose :)  she is much better at the super hero poses than I!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Uncommon Beach Wear

This is what my kids see every morning, me gulping down cup after cup of coffee!

I know this is not a swimsuit or a beach cover-up or really a garment that anyone would wear anywhere near a beach, but for me its what I plan on lounging in all morning (and night) while at the beach!  We are having our parents join us this trip and I felt like my current pj's are pretty ratty, or close to it!  And I have a habit of getting up super early, I love the quiet and solitude, sitting on the deck and drinking coffee.  There's something so quieting to my spirit to sit and listen to the day as it begins, so peaceful and grounding. 

 I have been planning on these pajamas for at least a couple of years- sheesh, get your sewing on already right!?  But every time I picked up the pattern, it just looked so involved! 

Its just that I have come to a place in my sewing journey where I really get annoyed with sloppy unfinished facings that just get folded over leaving some raw seams exposed to the washer and dryer.  I've also come to a place that really appreciates all the small design details such as piping. 

All that being said, I knew, when looking at the pattern, that I'd have to pipe the darn thing to be happy with it and then alter the facings to make everything inside enclosed, sigh.  So, two years later, here they are!!

I used McCall's 6659 and made the same adjustments to the back pants piece that I made to the last pants pattern I made and it worked again!  There are minimal back wrinkles!  I also shortened the pant by 2 inches at the cuff.  The cuff finishing is nicely constructed with everything neatly enclosed.  

The originally designed finishing and construction used to make the top were pretty sub par.  I read through the instructions after cutting everything out and as I began to put it all together in my mind I was not happy with the finished product, so I decided to trim down the front facing, graded it, notched it to help ease it in and folded it under, stitching it down to the top enclosing everything.  Essentially its an enclosed button band.     

The only place where I wasn't 100% happy with my finishing changes was at the point where the facing, shoulder seam and collar facing all came together.  There was some snipping of fabric, as instructed by the pattern and then some hangy, thready bits left out to dry.  Ugh, I HATE that.  I tried to catch it all as best I could in my altered enclosed facing.

But for all my nit picking, the finished pajamas are really nice.  I LOVE this cotton lawn, its a Hancock's purchase.  The piping  was from my stash, I did end up running out of it after making the top but luckily had a length of cotton in the exact same peacock green and made bias tape and piping for the pants cuff.  The buttons were from my stash and were on a super old card.

I am so glad these finally came together, cotton lawn is perfect for pajamas, this print is opaque and the hand is really soft.  Just great for wearing at the beach, gulping pots of coffee and listening to the day begin.    

Thanks for reading and happy stitching!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Getting Beach Ready

We loved our fall beach trip last year (although it was cut a little short) and as soon as we booked our vacation this year, my mind started buzzing with all the beach outfits I wanted to start making!  
I'd love to make a kimono, tee shirt or two, new pajamas, one more Sophie bathing suit, the list is getting pretty long!   
I probably should've started last month!!

 This Burda pants pattern has been on my "to do" list for some time and I felt they would make perfect beach ready pants. I was hesitant to try them since almost every.single.pair.of.pants I have made have terrible back thigh wrinkles.  I have tried a lot of solutions that really never worked perfectly for me so this time I made a few pattern tweaks that truthfully I probably always needed but never wanted to admit to!  I am not sure that they eliminated the back wrinkles, I think that has to do with drafting and the tighter fit of most of the other pants I've tried, but I do think they improved the over all comfort.

So, what did I do?!  I gave myself some extra bum width (one size up) across the widest part of the bum at the side seams,only on the back of the pant.  I also dropped the bottom of the crotch one extra size, only on the back of the pant.  Those two changes really took care of the extra crotch length I often need and the back bum room I need too. 

Another minor change was to slim down the sides of the pants slightly right around mid thigh, only on the outside seams.

I couldn't believe that I had next to no back wrinkles behind my thighs with these pants, but I'll take it!!  Like I said, I think my changes may have helped with the wrinkles, but I am only guessing.  Burda does shorten the inner leg seams on the back of the pattern as well and I have read that this helps eliminate back wrinkles too.

Anywho, I LOVE these pants, they are soooo comfortable.  I want five pair to live in every summer. 

I used a rayon challis from my stash that I have kept for far too long thinking it too precious to mess up.  Not anymore!  My fabrics are feeling less safe these days because I am branching out and daring to use up all those fabrics I've been hoarding. 

Its a good thing. 

Well I am off to cut out those new pajamas, I hope you are finding a few projects as satisfying as this one was to me!
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Summer Makes, nothing too complicated, or so I thought!

I thought that I didn't do much complicated sewing this summer....but then I looked over all my pictures of the garments I made in about two months time and what I didn't accomplish in complexity, I accomplished in volume! 

This beautiful lady is my Mom!  She visited early in the summer and while she was here I made her two tops from the Deer and Doe Plantain T-shirt pattern (a FREE pattern btw).  She loved them, one I made the morning before we went to have a special lunch with friends- that tells you how fast they are to sew!  I made both tops from some soft rayon/lycra from Fabric Mart.   The scoop neck on this top is so pretty on her.  

 As she wore them during her visit I kept noticing little tweaks to the pattern that could improve on it, two being a small sway back adjustment and raising the neckline a smidge.  I also kept imaging how cute it would be as a tunic with a split hem and a little looser fit over the hips- would be so adorable!  I may have to try that for her, probably from the bustline down make it more of an A-line shape...hmmmm thoughts for her next visit!

These swimsuits were made for my Fabric Mart post.  The patterns for the rashguard were from Jalie and I have to say that although mine fit pretty standard, I had to significantly grade out the one for my daughter.  The two piece top is the Sophie swimsuit from Closet Case Patterns and I love it! It was a challenge and seeing as I have never sewn a bra or anything close to bra like, I was super proud at how great this one turned out! 
The bottoms are a McCalls pattern that I really like.  I made them last summer and it fits me really well. The pattern has princess seams in the front and back which really help achieve a good fit.

This guy was such a great sport in posing for me, I know its not his thing but he never complained and likes this rashguard!  Win win!  Its the Jalie Nico pattern and its a great guys T shirt pattern.  Here I used a nylon/lycra fabric from Fabric Mart and although it serves its purpose as a rashguard I think the fabric is a little on the too thick side.  He's worn it many times this summer and as far as fit goes, I did take it in a little to get the tighter rashguard fit that you need for swimming. 
For all of the swimwear I used wooly nylon thread in my loopers and I love that stuff now, total convert.  I highly recommend using it in your serger for swimwear.  It makes the threads softer on the inside of your garment and I think, in the long run will hold up to the chlorine/salt water's hoping!
I hemmed my husbands rash guard with a twin needle and although it looked great it didn't hold up to the stretching of the top on and off.  Accomplishing a stretchy twin needle finish is still a mystery to me and not to mention making sure that it goes through my machine with out creating a big crazy mess!  Need to trouble shoot a little more in that regard.

This gal makes me smile, I mean come on she's doing a hula dance in her new skirt (Simplicity 8225)!  So fun!  This outfit was made for Pattern Review's pattern stash contest.  The top (McCalls 7463) is from a great soft knit from my local quilt shop and the skirt is a rayon challis from the stash.  I love this little skirt, good for school with leggings.

The skirt gives her a swish in her step but she wasn't feeling the dress below, so only one picture of it!
She likes the dress (McCalls 6915), just sooo un-enthused about  posing for a picture!  I get it sister, its a little weird feeling!  It was another pattern stash buster for Pattern review and I love this little pattern. 

I couldn't leave tiny gal out of the Pattern Stash bust either, its been some time since I've sewn for these two so it was good to roll up my sleeves and get school basics like this one made up.
This is the Oliver and S hopscotch top/dress.  I altered it into a swing dress adding a little volume around the hemline.  You can't really tell because she is holding onto the hem :)

And of course I had to make this silk charmeuse top because I have been eyeing a pattern by Lisette for Butterick that is almost identical and I could not in good conscious buy that pattern when this doppelganger was already in the stash.   The neckline on this was tricky, lets just leave it at that.

I now have the Lisette pattern in my possession and I think it will probably be better constructed than this New Look 6372.

This top doesn't look like much, but I must say that I love the fit of it!  Its McCalls 6964 and is a Palmer/Pletsch.  I have professed my love for Palmer/Pletsch in past posts but they are so great because they have all the alteration lines already.on.the.pattern!  I love that! 

In my mind, the whole time I was making this top, I was comparing it to the Grainline Lark tee.  I really like the fit of this one better.  The shoulders are better fitting for my frame, there isn't as much volume around the waist and I love the shaping of the v at the neckline. 

If you are curious to see how the two compare, the tee on the left is the Lark and the tee on the right is the McCalls.  Both are very wearable, I just prefer the fit of the McCalls top a bit more.

Well thats the summer sewing.  I have been taking a little break from sewing.  Other things in life are encroaching on my sewing time these days.  Here's hoping things will even out soon enough so that I can get back to my machine! 

Thanks for reading! 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Much Needed Maritime Shorts

Just a short post here to share these Grainline Maritime shorts that are so useful.  I have needed a new pair of denim shorts for a long time and I finally was able to make these up.  


Although I don't relish showing the back of these shorts to the internets I think its really helpful for others who are making this pattern to see all angles of the final garment.  The Grainline Maritime is a short shorts pattern, just be forewarned (Hanni, I guess I forgot to mention this to you back when?).  I have always added about 1 1/2 inches of length since first making a muslin a few years back.  I am not what I would call tall, 5'5" and my legs are on the shorter side so take all that into account if you are unsure about the length of these shorts.  
The rest of the fit is really well.  I love the comfort of these shorts and they look so put together.  For next time I will definitely scoop out the back crotch more. 

The directions for this pattern are not great, just sayin'.  I have been able to navigate them but a new sewist will more than likely have some issues.  The fly instructions are not the best, I usually pull out an old pair of maritime shorts to see how I put them together in the past.  


I sewed them up in a short length bought at Hancocks quite some time ago.  The denim has a lot of stretch and is on the lighter side as far as weight goes.  This pattern uses so little fabric that I could probably squeeze them out of a yard of fabric using alternate insides.  

I have plans for making another pair in an adorable ikat sateen bought years ago at Fabric Mart.  They are on my cutting table but are behind a few other things that I am currently working on. 

This is how I wear these shorts, chasing after people who climb on climbing rocks and ropes.  Lifting, bending, squatting etc.  So they fit well into my casual wardrobe and match almost any top in my closet. 

I am coming up short on creative things to say about these shorts, they are a great basic and its pieces like this that go with ALL THE TOPS in my wardrobe- so less time wondering what to match up and more time chasing the cute small ones in my life! 

I hope your summer is off to a great start and thanks for reading!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Six Skirts for Summer

When Julie at Fabric Mart shared that Fabric Mart would host a skirt challenge month in May I knew I wanted to participate but an honest evaluation of my closet revealed a gaping hole- and it wasn't skirts.  

I have PLENTY of skirts, and most of them handmade!  What I was lacking were suitable tops that looked great with my skirts.    

This is where I turned to the Closet Case Nettie, a full bodysuit.  I blogged mostly about the Nettie pattern on the Fabric Mart blog and promised that I would speak to all the skirts I paired with it on this blog.  So here ya go.

Skirt #1

This skirt was a Christmas present from my Mom some years ago.  It is an awesome wrap skirt that ties at the back, the skirt portion is all one printed piece.  I love this skirt, so comfortable and the design is so fun.  I have tried to find a similar pattern and the closest I have come is in the book Shape Shape 2. Its a pattern for a seamless wrap skirt that has a waistband and ties.  

Its possible to get a similar look from McCall's 7129 but it looks a little more full to my eye than the skirt I am wearing.   

Just a side note, aren't these huge whimsical flowers awesome!  I happened to notice them when I went to sign up for a quilting class and convinced my husband to snap a few pictures with them.  

Skirt #2

I made this skirt a couple of years ago for work purposes.  It is sooo hot here in the summers and I though this rayon challis maxi would be great for summer work days.  Its McCall's 7096 and I just never got around to blogging it.  I remember being so proud of my stripe matching when I made it, especially at the back since I had to piece the fabric together to get enough length.  Those stripes match all the way around!

This skirt is a good pattern, I made it in a gorgeous blue and you can that one here.  The fabric is a rayon challis from Hancock Fabrics, I still miss you Hancocks!  It has a good weight to it, a little more substantial than some rayon challis. 

Skirt #3

I posted this skirt last August and wrote about it here.  It is a really luxurious skirt, charmeuse feels so good and knowing that my Mom and Grandmother both wore this pattern elevates everything about it to me.  I loved the way it paired so perfectly with this bodysuit.  Since charmeuse can show every little lump and bump the bodysuit worked great to smooth things out in the caboose area. Just sayin. 

The pattern is a paneled, gathered wrap skirt.  McCall's 5430 might achieve something similar, plus it has a ruffle option and I am seeing ruffles everywhere these days!   

If you are new to working with charmeuse, I will say it again, get yourself some Sullivans fabric stabilizer and stabilize that shifty fabric.  It can be real pain to sew charmeuse without some form of stabilizer.  

Skirt #4

I made this Hollyburn skirt by Sewaholic about two years ago and rarely wear it. I don't think I was really very happy with the tops I paired it with and the top in the original blog post is long gone, a mishap with a jumping dog and his untrimmed claws.  Now with a great top to pair it with it will see more outings!  Yippee!   

As far as the Hollyburn skirt pattern goes, I remember it being a really enjoyable sew and I don't know why I haven't tried my hand at one of the longer versions, need to do that.  The pockets are great and I love the fullness of the skirt, its just enough not to be too vintage looking.  Not that there's anything wrong with vintage its just not my strong preference.

Skirt #5

I can't recall that I ever blogged this skirt.  It is from the Built By Wendy Sewing book.  I really love that little book, I bought it at the beginning of my sewing journey and its a great little introduction to sewing and making your projects your own.  The denim used here was thrifted and has no stretch.  I drafted the pockets and added the belt loops.  Its a great skirt. It does have the tendency to cling to this bodysuit, not sure why but, meh, it doesn't keep me from wearing them together.  

I love a good A-line skirt pattern and have used this one several times.  I looked over a few sewing pattern company's offerings and I didn't spot a simple A-line off the bat.  I am sure there has to be one out there, but if you like the idea of a denim skirt with similar styling to mine I suggest McCall's 7475.  It has some of the features that I added to mine, pockets, belt loops and a yoke (which I didn't add).  Do note that its a little fuller than mine.    

Skirt # 6

I love so many things about this Simplicity pattern Cynthia Rowley skirt (2215).  It is so sad that its out of print (oop) because it has so many cute features that I haven't seen elsewhere.  The pleats are not uniform, which makes them fun to sew and the side pockets are so well explained and placed.  The invisible zipper is magically incorporated in the side pocket and the included instructions were wonderful.  

I blogged about this skirt along with a lot of other spring separates in this post. As you can see its a pretty full skirt but the style is so fun to wear that I can overlook the excessive fluff. 

I used a cotton eyelet from Fabric Mart and jimmied my own lining out of yellow linen. 

There you have it, six skirts for summer...and the Nettie bodysuit works so well with all of them.  I have to hand it to my husband for taking all these pictures, there were a lot of wardrobe changes but I was so excited to see how well the bodysuit paired with my skirts that I kept saying "just one more, let me see how it looks!"  

I hope you feel inspired to try your hand at either a bodysuit or a summer skirt and make your significant other take lots of pictures of you too! :)

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!