Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Wadder: McCall's 7722

Like me, you've probably seen a ton of versions of this pattern in the sewing-sphere. I've had my eye on it for awhile and was SUPER excited to make it.

I had this (affiliate link) very cool animal print (snow leopard?) lightweight sweater knit. But I only had a yard!! When I bought the fabric I intended on replicating an old NL6230 top that I really like but the neckline is too wide and the binding is atrocious :) I wear it ALL the time. And then, I decided M7722 would be perfect! But I only had ONE YARD.

I cut a size 14 and did my normal cheater FBA. I did not have enough fabric for the full upper sleeve. And once I got the pattern pieces cut out and realized how long it was, I decided to shorten it. And I laid everything out and huzzah! I could fit the pattern pieces on the 1yard. I folded the edges in toward the center *just enough* to cut the front and back. After I cut those pieces I was able to fold the remaining yardage in half and cut the sleeves. The sleeve pattern piece is pretty wide as it's gathered on top and bottom...but I made it work!

I did not enjoy making the top with all the gathering. So much gathering!!!!! And while the black wool knit (that I used on B6621) was a good match in stretch and recovery, it was quite a bit thinner. I cut the lower bands double - placed the hemline on the fold of the pattern. I sewed the long edge and then folded it any other sleeve band but just extra long.

I finished and thought it was *SO* cute.

And then I tried it on. Nope, nope, nope. And as mentioned, there are no suggestions needed for "trying to make it work". It doesn't and it isn't deserving of more time and I know I won't wear it as is. Into the donation pile it goes.

The combo of ALL THE VOLUME on top and super slim fitting on the bottom, I just do not like it. 

I tried to. I love the print. I would say it could be about an inch longer...

Soooo yeah, 34DDD + wide sleeves at the exact same level = nooooo thank you. I still think it's a cute pattern and love that it HAS worked for so many. Maybe I'll keep it in the collection in case I ever make it to getting a reduction :-p

I also wanted to quickly review the Evie La Luve Frankie panty. I've never had a huge interest in sewing undies or bras and almost every time I sew a knit I think, "how on earth are people using the same fabric to sew underwear?!?!" Now, maybe I just buy super thin ones?? LOL! But I made a couple pair in cotton/lycra jersey and will probably mostly stick to making lace undies should I continue down this path.

This pattern had really good reviews, looked most similar in cut to my favorite RTW bikini cut briefs, and I liked the variations. Well, while I can see doing a decorative elastic strap on the back, I can't imagine doing it with rings and sliders. Seems like it would be uncomfortable!

My hips measure into the XXL (~43"). I was skeptical though looking at the pattern pieces and cut an XL. I made a muslin and made the following changes to the pattern:

*Added 1/2" to the back pattern piece - yes, this puts the hip measurement into the XXL sizing. BUT, I needed it in back and not in front. Which makes sense with having to do a full butt adjustment on almost everything.
*In that same vein, I added a little more butt coverage in back. I did this as a curved line, with nothing at the side seam and nothing at the crotch seam, I added about 1/2". It worked very well and provides just the right amount of coverage for a round bottom.
*Added 3/8" to the center front tapering to nothing at the side seam. They seemed to dip a bit in the muslin.
*Narrowed the crotch width 3/8" (so 3/4" total!) I swear, every swimsuit pattern I've ever tried has SUPER wide crotch widths and I knew as soon as I traced this one off that it would be too wide.

I made this pair and they are almost *exactly* the same as my fave VS cotton undies.

from my IG stories :)

I used lingerie elastic at the waist and 3/8" swimsuit elastic in the legs (it was what I had on hand!). I made a 2nd pair and was using braided elastic in the legs and way, way too stiff. I will have to rip that out and either just hem the legs on my coverstitch or use some of my newly acquired lingerie elastic.

I bought a bunch of laces so I will try a few more pair. But don't see myself fully on this bandwagon any time soon (after I purchased like 40 yards of lingerie elastics and a whole bunch of lace! LOL!!)

I have spent many, many, many parts of many days trying to re-learn casting on and basic stockinette stitch. Goodness gracious! But I am knitting a swatch now! Woohoo!!!

I can knit about 2 rows then I have to take a break. Hmm, maybe I should make that baby hat a size bigger :-p

Monday, March 11, 2019

Sewing Room Mini Makeover

I have a bunch of posts written as I thought I would be able to take some pics while I was home. But after getting past the pain medicine induced haze, I just looked CRAZY! LOL!!!! So I have no finished garment photos still...but...BUT!!!!  :-p

My husband was planning to move my sewing stuff into the larger bedroom while I was recuperating from surgery. I was thinking about the layout in the new room and realized that 'my' room gets more light than the other bedroom. Also, I was never too jazzed about removing the stuff that I'd hung - I know it isn't a huge deal but it was just 'one of those things'.

When we first moved here I knew the existing table was too big. It's 3' x 6' (technically ~70") and while I LOVE it for many reasons - it's heavy as heck and all 3 machines can easily fit - it is far too large for a room that's just under 10' x 12'.

you can see the end of my cutting table here and how close it is to the sewing table.
I was always squeezing through there.

In the old house, I was using this table while sewing in the basement. When I moved up to the bedroom, I had my serger and coverstitch on a pine desk and was using an IKEA Linnmon/Adils combo for the sewing machine. (*I* didn't find this sturdy enough for my machine. ) So I was resigned to my tight space until we decide to buy a house (plan in 2020/2021!) and I can plan around *MY* room!

I was totally hung up on a long table for the all 3 machines and suddenly remembered that they weren't on one table in the last place...and then I was hung up on finding a sturdy enough table for the serger and coverstitch, but the existing pine desk in the basement is also too long based on this room size/layout i.e., the cutting table really can't go anywhere else without creating a lot of unusable space in the middle of the floor. And then...THEN! I looked over at the (amazing) drafting table that I've been using for the Cricut and realized it would be GREAT for those two machines!

The drafting table can go from standard desk height to 46"

the old pressing area and (huge) matching bookcase to the desk with some notions stored
This was another tight area. The other end of the ironing board is right up by the desk and this end can't even go was angled out into the room.

This closet is seriously tiny. About 22" deep and ~4 feet wide
There were other notions stored on this shelf

Again, I didn't want to spend too much. I settled on the BRUSALI desk for $80 and the LAIVA bookcase for $20.

AND I freed up horizontal space because of the shelving! Woohoo!
There's a lower shelf tucked further back and I have my old Singer 7258 machine there.

My daughter painted this pic for an art class when she was 16. I love it!
This pic just makes me so happy!! It's so bright and colorful and cheery!!
I finally hung my 2nd cone thread rack and organized my serger thread.

Once I'm sewing again we'll see if I need to make any changes to the set up

I use an empty glass spice jar from Trader Joes to keep bent pins and needles that are bent/broken/dull. When it gets full I just put the top on and dispose of it. 
Easy peasy and well contained!

This bookcase is a seriously great value at $20!! It has 5 shelves and the max load per shelf is 33 lbs. My Cricut is the heaviest thing on it and I believe it's a little over 15 lbs.

I'm using the upper shelf for decoration for now...My cotton threads, a box with some trinkets in it that my daughter bought me, some of my favorite photos from when the kids were small people, my jar of decorative buttons, MY CUBS MUG!!!!, and because knitting will be a part of my life again...a ball of yarn with pretty metal needles.

The white basket holds buttons, the container underneath has my larger buttons, D-rings, hook & eye closures. The colorful bins have snaps, eyelets, grommets, and other bits and bobs.

Before I decided on the re-org, I'd picked up a bunch of these clear shoeboxes from The Container Store (they are like $1.59). Imagine my delight when I measured and realized they'd fit perfectly on the bookcase stacked 3x3! Woohoo!!!

I made labels on the Cricut (affiliate link) using their chalkboard vinyl.
I sized the labels so that I could fit 12 on the 12x12 sheet and they ended up being the *perfect* size for the boxes!

My sewing patterns, Burda mags and fabric stash is in the basement. 
Here is my tiny sewing library :)
I have my Burda tech drawing binder, sewing books, my colored pencil set, Threads mags and my machine manuals and discs. 

I also used the Cricut to make these bags for the set of feet I recently scored for my Brother 2340cv!
All 6 feet for $120! SCORE!

They came in (heavy) ziplock bags with tiny print and that just wasn't going to work. These bags came 4 to a package at Target and were on clearance or $1.75. Seriously winning here. They could easily fit in the rolling cart here but why when I have this cute basket?!

 Once I'd settled on the desk and bookcase, I was thinking, "what can I use to store my pressing tools near the ironing board?" since I was going to get rid of the large wood bookcase.

I was heading downstairs and LIGHTBULB moment. The IKEA Raskog cart that I bought last summer and never assembled would be absolutely perfect!

Because I abhor having to bend to plug the iron in each time...I had it set up this way at the old place and unsure why it just occurred to me to do so here!

Ham, seam roll, clapper, shoulder press, pressing mitt, spray bottle and bottle to refill the iron
The white clip-on baskets are $.79 and the metal clip-on basket was $5.
The second shelf has interfacing and the basket has other pressing related items.
(the pink bin has small bits of interfacing that I use to support zippers or buttonholes or any area that I decide needs some backing during the construction process)

The bottom shelf holds my Cricut Easy Press so perfectly!!
Also, a ironing mat that I use when doing larger Cricut projects

The cutting area is unchanged but those rails, trays and hooks are also from IKEA

The 3-drawer cart that was underneath the drafting table holds all of my Cricut supplies
Actual tools for the machine, cardstock, vinyl, mats, etc.
The large mats are 12"x24" and so I have them hanging

The other side of the closet is pretty random for now :)
My knitting supplies are in the blue basket (I will not be stashing yarn)
My stash of shoulder pads are in the white basket on the upper shelf.
The next shelf has some quilting cuts and the blue basket my daughter's in-progress-for-2+ years-quilt. Sighhhhhh.
There are some other random craft and sewing supplies and the last shelf has all the stuff I bought when I was going to try my hand at dyeing fabric. Another huge sigh.

Aaaaaand the upper shelf of the closet is still a hot mess of hot mess-ness with respect to my PDF patterns. Eventually :-)

On Saturday we got a rainstorm followed by a snowstorm (ughhhhh). My husband had planned to assemble everything and move things in/out since we'd be stuck inside. After searching high and low for the hammer it dawned on me that one of those kids must have it. Yep. My daughter has our hammer. KIDS!!! We went to buy a hammer (and bought an ax too?? LOL!) in the snowstorm. I told him we could go on Sunday but he decided that my mouth was deceiving and my eyes said I WANT MY ROOOOOOOOMMMMMM. :-p

So we worked on the room most of Sunday and I cannot tell you how many times I've walked in there and just SMILED! I can't wait until I can sew again!!!

My follow up with my doc went great. Everything seems fine for now. I still have about 4-6 weeks of very light lifting (<2 lbs). No gripping/pulling/pushing - I was able to cut a banana one day but tried to slice some bread another day and owwwwww.....I also can't really grab/pinch and reaching is painful. Finally, I can do about 20-30 minutes of stuff before I have to take a break. It does not matter what it is, after that time my hand fatigues. My husband does the laundry and I was putting away my ALREADY FOLDED laundry and had to stop after about 15 minutes. All things in time...

On a positive note - I CAN KNIT! Wooohooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Again, with limits...and of course, it would help if I remembered how to cast on...but a friend is going to re-teach me :-p Way back when, I could NOT, for anything, learn to cast on with videos or books. I tried at least 6 or 7 times to do it and nope. I need someone to show me. My first project will be a baby hat. My baby cousin is having a little boy next month!

Friday, March 1, 2019

February Wrap-up and Future Plans…

This month I sewed 4 items for a total of 7.25 yards, all from “new”fabric.

My epic February plans were interrupted by the biopsy...between the stress and the pain, I spent a good 10 days not sewing. Add in the issues with the B6641 jacket and blehhhhh. I wish I'd gone with my plan to cut some stuff out.

Anyway, enough griping :)
  • New Look 6123 dress (WIP) in plaid suiting - 2 yards
  • New Look 6189 pants in tonal striped suiting - 2 yards
  • McCall's 7722 top in leopard sweater knit - 1.25 yards
  • Vogue 1411 pants in olive ponte - 2 yards
I'm not sure about the dress. It may be a wadder...I still have quite a bit of finishing left to do on it but am not very enthusiastic about it. 

NL6189 turned out very well!! I went back after this and made a tie belt for them. As soon as I no longer look crazy-eyed (hello prescription pain meds...) I'll get pics.


Mehhhhhhhhhh. I liked the idea of this pattern and *loved* the fabric but, no. It looks super weird on me. It is a very fitted bodice and with the full upper sleeves + 34E bustline = NOPE. 

I know people mean well when they give suggestions for 'fixes' but I promise...when I'm unsure or looking to save something, I'll ask for suggestions. When I've decided it doesn't work on me, it doesn't work.  I will not be attempting to rework this garment and will likely get rid of the pattern.


V1411 has been made a few times before. After M7722 crashed and burned, I needed a final project. I should have just worked on the jacket or dress but...I also need more pants.


I love the topstitching on this pattern. And yay for having a coverstitch now! Speaking of...I found a fellow sewer selling the entire set of feet for the Brther 2340cv for an excellent price and I cannot wait to play with them when I am better!!!!

Butterick 6641 just needs (hand sewn) hems. They're all basted and ready to sew. I think this is something I'll be able to do sooner rather than later. I believe the impediment to getting back to sewing will be cutting things out (which is why I wanted to do so before surgery!!)

terrible pic of B6641 :)

I also bought fabric. I'd seen a cardigan (I can't remember which blog!) and when FM had knits on sale, I had to have some of this fabric.

distressed french terry
2 yds of laurel green
1 yd of white (for another NL6314)

1.5 yds yellow cotton twill for a pair of jeans

1.5 yds striped poly georgette

1 panel of this lasercut, fringed moleskin

I am so not a bag maker but...I am a very frequent user of the library and have an old gym bag that I use as my 'library bag'. Well, when I started my pilates and Zumba classes, I needed the gym bag for...going to the gym! :) As soon as I saw this fabric I thought, that would make a cute little tote! Something simple like this: HGTV Tote Bag Tute 

I have cute french braids for the next couple of weeks since I can't use my hand...we'll see where I am next week and if I need another longer term hairstyle.
This is also a takeaway from a fun photoshoot I did last weekend...More on that later!

Surgery was mostly uneventful - yay! Except for the tears from the 1st nurse's attempt at starting an IV. She bruised me up pretty good before suggesting she bring another nurse in. Hmmph. And, if you look closely, you can see the crazy bruising on my upper arm from the tourniquet.

Bandages come off Saturday, stitches are dissolvable, and I'm just trying to stay on top of pain management, work on "gently moving my fingers",  and binge watching shows and/or movies when I'm awake. (Highly recommend Homecoming and Sharp Objects if you haven't watched either!)

**Also, I'll be in Nashville early next month. It's for work but if you have suggestions for stores to hit up, or are a local and want to meet up, let me know! There's a 'contact me' option here on the blog.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Blah, Blah, No FOs, Blah, Blah


When I wrote my last post, I was SO ready to finish up the dress and jacket and get ALL THE SEWING done before surgery.

Last Monday morning I went in for nerve conduction testing / EMG. oh. my. goodness. That was the worst thing I have ever experienced. It was so painful that I burst into tears and was just lying there sobbing, begging the neurologist to stop. It was that bad! I was sore for a few days afterward.

In the mean time, I went in that Wednesday to get the results. Good news - no nerve damage. Yay!!! My orthopedic doctor noticed my "cute new mole" (as I referred to it) and told me to go to dermatology to get it checked out. Luckily, they were able to get me in same day (I think it's because the doctor suggested it vs me just trying to get an appt!) and they are right down the street so I left the orthopedist, got coffee, and went to the dermatologist.

She looked at it and decided immediately that it had to be removed. Then said, "We're going to remove that, it's a superficial scraping, and send it in." I was on the table before I realized "send it in" = "biopsy". She tried to be reassuring but I was already freaked out. The injection of the numbing medicine into my hand was HORRIFIC. More tears (I don't know what is happening to me). I left there with a chunk of skin missing and a whole bunch of questions. When the anesthetic wore off, OH MY GOSH. Wah. Wah. Wah.

Thursday and Friday I was not only in pain from the EMG and the biopsy, but I was worried sick about the results. I bought a whole bunch of random things (this form of dealing with feelings is infinitely better than stuffing my face!)The office called me Saturday afternoon -- mini freak out that THEY ARE CALLING ME ON A SATURDAY! followed up immediate relaxation when the assistant introduced herself. Well they cannot be giving me bad news because the doctor would be on the phone... -- All is well! YAY!

You don't even want to know the level of offensiveness that I was ready to have at me, a brown girl, living in the tundra, who doesn't even LIKE outside and is constantly Vitamin D deficient falling victim to melanoma. Whew.

The biopsy site was feeling a little better on Saturday and I made a pair of Evie La Luve Frankie undies. My first time EVER sewing underwear! But it still hurt and so I didn't do anymore that day or Sunday.
from my IG

My company closes for Presidents' Day and the entire time I've worked here that has been a sew day. But My Hand. Wah. I kid you not, around 4-5 p.m. my hand miraculously felt better - so annoying. I was home alone for the evening and cut out and mostly sewed a pair of pants from NL6189.

My jacket is ready for the lining to be sewn (I decided to follow the instructions and not bag the lining. It'll probably take awhile to finish but that's okay. I'm on the fence about the style. Of course, right?!  I think I understand how to do the vent of the lining/dress on NL6123. And now I have 7 days until surgery! Should definitely be able to wrap up the dress and current pants project. I have suddenly realized I have very few pants that fit and hope to cut out V1411 in an olive green ponte too. We'll see!!

Otherwise, I am optimistic and will do everything the doctor tells me - promise! But I also know that I'm always more affected than the general population. Like my 4 days of arm pain and soreness from the EMG!

With the 3 in-progress projects, the undie pattern and hopefully V1411 to review, there will be some activity here on the blog! I will probably schedule them for about once per week.

Lastly, did you happen to notice I'm a contributor over on the Curvy Sewing Collective blog?? Debbie Cook and I will be alternating the monthly pattern roundups and February was 'my' turn!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Updates on WIPs

I have kept my zipper stash in ziplock baggies, loosely separated by type, and in these plastic baskets I got from Dollar Tree. I have my trims in a basket, elastic in another, and all my interfacing is folded and in ziplock bags.

I went to The Container Store to buy a tote to keep my Indie patterns in so I could free the 4th drawer in my pattern file cabinets.  Checking out, I spotted these clear shoe baskets (whose shoes can fit in these??) and they were only $1.69 plus I had a 15% off coupon...JACKPOT! I should have gotten more but I was just thinking of zipper storage at the time. And now I need MORE!!!! Lol!

They will stack perfectly on my bookshelf!
I may use the Cricut to label them.

Now they're separated by regular zippers, invisible zippers and fashion zippers. 
I need one more for jacket zippers. 

 My NL6123 dress is right at the finish line. I've only sewn a lined dress with vent once and had to do some research before finishing. I know I used Colleen G. Lea's vid last time but this time it seemed confusing. Could be that I was just tired. Hopefully I'll get that finished this week.

This is the fabric I bought for my husband's blazer (it feels amazing!). 
It arrived and was much more green than gray.

Behold my terrible in-progress pics :) The side seams were basted here (I ended up letting the hip out a little). 
I'll dish about my dart issue when I review.

The blazer is coming along too. I'm not sure why I chose two labor intensive projects to work on at the same time. DOH!!

The lining is cut and ready to be assembled. I'm not going to bag the lining; I am going to go ahead and hand sew it like the pattern instructs. 

The sleeve vents are constructed like actual vents...but then the buttons are just sewn on through all thickness.


I'm going to go through all this trouble and not go all the way? Pfft.  This jacket, except for the collar style, is *exactly* like one of my J. Crew blazers. front darts, armhole princess seams, where the welts are positioned...I'm using it as reference.

Anyway, I interface a piece of the suiting and make sample buttonholes. Decide the first one was too narrow and the second one was good! In true sewing headache fashion...I have 5 perfect buttonholes and 1 that I don't even know. 


The FIRST buttonhole I made after the sample is like 2/3 the length it needs to be. I have NO idea what happened. Nothing was changed between making the samples and making the buttonholes. nothing was changed from the first buttonhole to any of the others. It's a mystery!!! 

My edges are wavy because I had constructed the vent area before realizing it wasn't real. I'm not sure why the lack of instruction to interface didn't tip me off...but I added interfacing after the fact which means that edge isn't interfaced. Not ideal but, sometimes you do what you gotta do!

I have not been sewing much and it finally dawned on me that my lack of mojo was likely due to  amount of work remaining on these projects. Lined garments are like have the shell and you're excited and then, crap! There's still a TON of work to do! :-p

I will likely not get my husband's blazer done before surgery. It'll be a good fall item! 

I really need pants right now. I am thinking of sewing at least one pair and then cutting out a bunch of stuff and seeing where the wind blows :) 

I think I'm going to make a tops from M7722 and V8597 right away. I need a couple easy projects with these two that are in progress!