Monday, November 11, 2019

Review of Ginny's Fine Fabrics and Updates

While having lunch on Saturday, we were trying to remember how our MinneSEWta group began. I'm almost certain it began in the Regional Communities section of PR in mid-2014. Some time ago, we settled on getting together the first Saturday of every month. This way, if you can make it, great! If you can't, that's okay too...maybe another month :)

Normally, we hang out and chat about sewing (or not!). Over time, there's sort of a core group that has developed but really, ANYONE is welcome - there's no cliquey thing happening here.

Sometimes we get together and have a sewing day. Sometimes, we take field trips. I'm not sure who came up with the fantastic idea to visit Ginny's but I'm glad they did!

Ginny's (website ) has existed in downtown Rochester, near Mayo, for decades! (check out THIS write up in the Rochester blog) She is truly a gem and if you have the opportunity to stop in - be sure to do so! She knows that store like the back of her hand and when I tell you that the fine fabrics part is accurate?? It is A C C U R A T E! Name it, and you can find it! From $300/yd cashmere coating to $9/yd cotton voile, it's there.

She doesn't sell online but if you call her and let her know what you're looking for, she will swatch fabrics for you. 

Rochester is about 90 miles southeast of me and it was a pleasant drive down Saturday morning. Downtown Rochester is really pretty and had it not been so cold Saturday, I probably would have wandered around a bit.

My stash OVERFLOWS so I took some time on Friday night to come up with a short list of things I could shop for. I did not however, set a budget. BIG mistake :-p Oh, did I mention there was a 20% off sale that day? OY!

Suiting for pants, Ponte for pants, knit for leggings, plaid shirting, "bright red w/print" woven for a dress. So, what did I buy? :-D

Not pictured: Navy ponte for pants - yay! I could not get a photo of the ponte that wasn't washed out and weird but's navy ponte. It's completely opaque, midweight, and drapes really well. I took pics of bolt ends and didn't get the full composition of this one but, it's a Telio ponte and I captured "65% rayon" so it seems like it may be their Jockey ponte. The composition is listed as 65% rayon, 30% nylon, 5% spandex. That sounds in line with how this fabric behaved.

Next up, knit for leggings - yay! I wanted something slightly heavier than a run of the mill cotton lycra knit. I plan on using V9210, which I made before in an inappropriate fabric. It was a ponte that was much too soft/drapey for a legging-style slim pant. This fabric is 85% poly, 10% rayon and 5% lycra and is black with a sparkly finish, but it isn't textured. It has a nice weight to it and is opaque.

There was a silk twill in red with a black abstract print that I totally swooned over. I may buy that fabric in the future. But, I have 8 cuts of silk in stash that has been collected over the past 2 years and until I sew up a couple of those, I'm not allowing myself to buy more silk (blouseweights). And at $38/yd, I knew I'd talk myself out of sewing it.

This 50/50 cotton/rayon voile is SO nice. It drapes amazingly well yet is completely stable. I'm going to make a shirtdress for sure. Initially, I was going to go with a Vogue with pleats but it came out of the dryer slightly more wrinkled than I'd like a pleated skirt to be. I wouldn't want to spend a ton of time ironing it before wearing it. I bought 3 yards and wish I'd gotten more! It feels amazing and was priced at $9/yd. Total steal.

Next up was a crepe that I just couldn't pass up. I love any sort of black background + bright/light print so I was sold. The label said it was poly but the label didn't contain everything (e.g., it says polye). If this is 100% polyester, it's the most amazing polyester I've ever seen. I think it's a blend. THE DRAPE! OMG. It's beautiful. It's already cut out and halfway to being a dress from Burda 9/2018. Like, the entire front of the dress is constructed :-p If I had thought ahead a bit, I'd have gotten 3 yards instead of 2.5. I would have loved to let this fabric sing in something with lots of pleats or gathers, it drapes so well. I was able to find something with a little tie at the neck that's cut on the bias, and the skirt has a center front pleat.

This beautiful piece of fabric! SWOON! Another sewer found it in the remnant area and it is just gorgeous!! Three of us swarmed over there but when Ginny unrolled it, it was only 1 7/8 yard. As we were all checking out, S. had fell in love with a beautiful, bright silk print and it was pricey and she offered up this crepe to me and I JUMPED on it! :-D I just love the colors and I plan to use it for McCall's 7976. I think it's a year-round color/print for me (navy background) and I want a garment that can transition.

So, I was done! I'd gotten fabric for 3 of 5 specific things on my list...and had still stuck with 5 pieces of fabric.

Then I found this 20" piece of power mesh (beige) in the remnant bin for $6. The remnants were half off and so, SCORE! $3 for a hefty piece. I recently bought the Watson bra, no chance to try it out yet, but I wanted something pretty and sheer to make a set. This stretch mesh (I know it's not swiss dot but can't think of what this is called!) was just the ticket. I bought a full yard so that next spring, I can make a pretty top or dress with a sheer yoke :)

Shopping for fabric really recharged the mojo! When the mojo goes, I can't help but try to figure out why. This time, I realized it's because I've had a lot of fails or quasi-fails in a row.

Since sewing my awesome and beautiful blazer (which I'm going to finish SOON) in mid September, and taking way more time off from sewing than I thought I'd need after surgery, I've sewn:

*Cardigan and skirt from Minerva Crafts ponte. The fabric is too thick for the cardigan and I'm not sure the skirt is really my style though it's cute!! And the fabric works with the skirt pattern.

*M7812 yellow top. I love this top. LOVE. But the fabric. Between this and visiting Ginny's, I think I've decided that jersey knits are something I have to buy in person. I got the yellow fabric from Metro Textiles and it just isn't good and the top won't last long.

*Style Arc Sandra Jeans - I stole these pics off my IG stories :) They fit fine, I like this pattern for the most part. I drafted a curved waistband and these are still gaping. Boooo! I'm to do the elastic trick (a strip inserted and stitched down from left back belt loop to right) and otherwise, they're fine, but it was a disappointment.

*Vogue 9026 - GRRRRRRR. I spent a lot of money to get this fabric and this pattern was not what I wanted. There is a view with no band but it uses the same back pattern piece (that wraps around the front) and it has more of a sweatshirt fit than anything. It's huge and billowy in back and for now, it's in the naughty box and I've moved on for now.


Burda 9/2018 #113 WIP:

Friday, November 1, 2019

October Wrap-Up and Fall/Winter Sewing Plans

This month I sewed 6.25 yards.

  • New Look 6418 skirt - 1.25 yards (WIP)
    • Minerva Crafts ponte
    • zipper
  • McCall's 6996 cardigan - 2 yards 
    • Minerva Crafts ponte
  • McCall's 7218 top - 1.5 yards
    • yellow jersey 
  • Style Arc Sandra jeans - 1.5 yards (WIP)
    • Denim from stash
    • zipper, tack button
Favorite: M7218 top. Well, I love this pattern and with my adjustments to the neckline, it works much better than version 1. And, I was unable to undo my FBA and sew it as-is and it fits beautifully!

FAILS: I am not sold on the cardigan. I've made this pattern a couple times before but always in a jersey knit. I think the ponte may have been too thick for it. So far, it's just been hanging out on my dress form.

Accomplishments: I redid the entire neckline on that McCall's top to make it work. That's pretty serious business for me! :) 

I did add 16 yards to the stash. Y'all, I tried so hard. I knew being at home recovering would leave me vulnerable :-D Especially once I realized I couldn't sew because more than a few minutes of any activity was draining. 

There was a rust-orange "leopard" print double knit at Michael Levine and I really wanted it for a tunic (column 2, top #2). The fabric was like $6/yd and for 2 yards, shipping was going to be like $17! But they were also having a sitewide sale. So then I found a shirting that I wanted and a couple of sweater knits that were reasonable (they're nice too!!!). I think my total was around $40. And shipping was going to be another $20! So I walked away. 

THREE DAYS LATER they were still having a sale and that fabric was still there! I figured why spend $60 and get $40 worth of fabric when I could spend $75 and get $75 worth of fabric!?!?! :-p


I got the leopard fabric, the shirting ended up being sold out. I got two modal knits (at $3.60 and $2.70 per yard!!!), a striped jersey, a charcoal double knit and 2 sweater knits. Ahhhh :) I also love that their confirmation emails include thumbnails of the fabric.

Everything washed and dried well! The green and black striped modal is a little Freddy Kruegerish in person LOL! The ribbed sweater knit (white/grey) is BEAUTIFUL!

I'm really planning to keep the stash additions to a minimum going forward. I was so disappointed when they notified me about the stripe. When my order came and I was sorting to prewash, I had already purchased a striped shirting from SR Harris to use for this specific project. Grrr! So it was actually good for me...and I hate when I find fabric that I've *completely* forgotten about. 

Moving on!

I still have a gazillion reviews to write. I posted an update on IG while working on my jeans. I have a lot of hand sewing to work through. 
  1. Finish my mom's quilt binding
  2. Sew my blazer lining
  3. Hem my NL skirt for my Minerva post. Which I mentioned I'll just do a blind stitch by machine to get it finished.
I've made the Style Arc Sandra jeans twice before and they are looking good. I have them basted together but somehow, someway, I always end up making pants during PMS week. I do it over, and over, and over again. So they are snug, but that pattern has 3/8" seam allowances so it's not like I can find more room if I actually did need it. But, I have totally sewn things up during this week only to find them far too big afterwards. Fibroids and cysts make for some impressive monthly bloat!

I. NEED. TOPS!! I was looking through the stash and was so excited about all of the new possibilities. SO many things have been weeded from the closet and as we are deep into the cooler temps, I want more sweater-type tops that can be worn to work. 

Starting with the tops. Left column, down then back up to the second column. 
  • M7601 I've wanted to make this for forever. I plan to use a black and white diagonal striped blouseweight 
  • V1629 LOVE this and plan to make it in a black and white print georgette.
  • M7975 top, unsure of color/print but I'm thinking either a solid or a stripe (vs other print options)
  • NL6644 top in a solid neutral (cream? grey?)
  • B5678 fabric undecided. I just know I need a shirt!
  • V1642 in this cool textured woven I picked up from Metro Textiles
  • V9026 sweater in the rust leopard print
  • Burda 6990 in a soft blue (soft & fuzzy!) Halston knit
  • S9017 (drool) tunic in *hopefully* the same knit from Fabric Mart that I used for this Vogue top.

  • M7979 tunic/minidress (totally plan to pair with leggings/boots) in a black sweater knit
  • NL6298 dress in a plum heathered double knit
  • Burda 10/2018 dress is actually NOT supposed to be here. Doh. But I am not going back to change the collage sooooo, yeah! My 3rd dress is actually Ottobre 5/2019 in a geometric print double knit from Metro Textiles:


  • Burda 06/2018 in a black & off white boucle
  • S8992 cardigan in the grey and white ribbed sweater knit from Michael Levine


  • Birkin Flares in a medium wash denim
  • M7982 in a camel suiting from FM or Metro Textiles
  • And then, 2 pair of trousers chosen from 3 patterns that I used before. 
    • S2700
    • Burda 6432
    • Burda 03/2013

I'm thinking one pair of the Burda magazine pants because they are flat-front and then 1 pair from one of the other patterns. The cut of the Burda seems more my taste right now compared to the wide leg of the Simplicity. But there's some fit stuff I didn't work out in the Burda and the Simplicity fits so well. We'll see.

  • NL6418 skirt in pleather. I will make the lower panels a little shorter, but I've been wanting this skirt for awhile and I'm making it, for sure, this year!
  • Watson bra. I have a few appropriate fabrics/laces for this. It will be months before I'm at my final size and shape and I don't want to spend a ton of money buying bras and bralettes before then. I bought a wireless bra in a 36C and a week later, there was room in the cups. Hopefully I can make a handful to get me through!
  • Also, I own 2 hoodies and no other long sleeved loungewear. I hope to crank out a couple tops for just lounging around. I really do draw a line between whats 'at-home' clothes and what's 'outside' clothes. Shrug. :)
Now, this is more of a wish list than a sewing plan. I'm sure that there may be some "ooh shiny" or possibly amending fabric/pattern know how it goes!

This month, my goals are
  • finish up my 3 big WIPs (quilt, skirt for Minerva, blazer)
  • 2 pair of pants 
  • 2 long-sleeved tops/sweaters/tunics (I'm dying for the leopard one so that, for sure!)
  • 2 Watson bras
I had a big birthday, we had my parents here, and traveled one weekend in July.
We traveled 2 weekends in August
We traveled 3 weekends in September and then I had surgery
I pretty much recovered all of October

IT HAS BEEN SO, SO BUSY!  November is going to feel like such a reprieve! 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Burda Magazine 04/2019 #113

I think this April issue is pretty freaking awesome and this skirt is a STANDOUT! It's an A-line but has such fantastic details that totally elevate it.

When two of my sewing faves sewed it, I knew I was IN. Beth's version and YSG's were both done in denim. And, I wanted a denim one! But I'd bought this bright kelly green cotton twill for a skirt and knew this pattern's details + this fabric would = LOVE!

Now, this skirt has a saga. All user created though so if you're into this pattern, sew it! Now! :)

I cut a size 42 which is normal for me with Burda. With skirts, I've been using a 16/42 front and 18/44 back for awhile but the last couple skirts I made were a bit big so I opted to go a straight 42. I did a 1" full bottom adjustment *park this* and was on my way. The pattern calls for 1.5 yards, which I had, but my fabric was only 52" wide. *park this too*.  

So let's just get the major mistake out there.

Wait, can I just say, I love topstitching!! I don't wear jeans often but it's one of the reasons I enjoy making them :) I used a thread that was *just* lighter than the fabric. I used a topstitching needle and doubled thread. YSG mentioned paying attention to the directions so for once in my life, I actually did so :-p
Since the twill looks the same on both sides, I used tape to mark the wrong side after cutting. But, that whole 1.5 yards of 52" fabric meant that I had to 'fussy-cut'.  I went to interface my zipper area (which I always do with invisible zippers), And realized I'd interfaced the RIGHT SIDE of the fabric. I panicked, I Googled, and I was actually able to remove most of it! But now I'm looking at my pattern pieces so utterly confused...turns out, I did the full butt adjustment wrong! I added the wedge to the side seam vs at center back. So that entire pattern piece was just WRONG. It was wrong. It made the pattern pieces unusable. The only fabric I had left was the fabric to cut the belt and facings (I'd saved the facings for last because I knew I could use an alternate fabric if needed).

I had to retrace the pattern piece and do the proper adjustment. Then I just barely found a large enough section to cut new back pieces. It was SO close and I thought I'd made it. And then...

There were several missing chunks. Doh!

And a serious 'make it work' moment with my zipper. Whew!

I ended up using the 'bad' backs for the belt and I found chunks to use for my facings. I had to do 3/8" side seams and had chunks missing out of the lower seam allowance, which thankfully, doesn't matter much.

I thought that pocket bag was so cute and pretty much worked on that first. I was using doubled thread for topstitching, right? I accidentally topstitched the wrong side. There was some other weird mistake with this bag but I don't remember now.

Oh! Aaaaaaaaaand I forgot to leave an opening in CF even though I had the warning to pay attention. DOH! I had already topstitched the seam but no worries. I ended up cutting open the slit and doing bar-tacking on either end to ensure it was secure. Whew.

I had major difficulties sewing the pockets in after the seams were sewn.  I'm not sure why it was handled that way but also get that I was just having a hard time with this pattern. I angled the end of the belt and topstitched it, but it was "backwards" once the belt was in the D-ring. (sheesh).

I was off work that Monday and worked on this skirt on and off ALL DAY. And still had hours of work to do on the other days I worked on it. It was just never ending.

But it's so perfect! It's so bright! It fits so well!!!!! And the pocket bag is ADORABLE! I have a piece of red denim that I think will have a turn with this pattern this fall :)

I thought I had more up-close pics but didn't. And I put my summer stuff away this weekend. 

This post was written back in July when I sewed the pattern. I never got pics when wearing it and took photos for the blog this past week. Err, it's a little too snug now. LOL!!! I assume once I'm cleared to return to activity I'll drop the extra few I've put on. :-p 

I have been low on sew-jo. I did get the top from M7812 finished. But I also have a ton of other stuff I need to finish. I realized today what my hold up was!
  • I have to finish hand sewing the binding on my mom's quilt. I'm just over halfway done. 
  • I have to finish my jacket from the tailoring class that requires hand sewing (I chose not to bag the lining).
  • I have to hem the skirt I made for my Minerva post.
I don't mind hand sewing but I just can't do a ton of hand sewing back to back. I need to just buckle down and focus on finishing up one thing at a time.

But then, when the mojo returned, I wanted to SEW ALL THE THINGS!

There's a lot of stuff I want to make but I realized that I don't have a pair of plain, straight leg jeans in a dark wash. I started cutting out a new pair of the Style Arc Sandra this weekend. I want to sew the Claryville jeans by Workroom Social but didn't feel like tracing, cutting it out, doing a muslin. Blergh. Hopefully I'll get them done some time this winter. I like the look of the pattern.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Breast Reduction Surgery Pt. 3

My last update was 2 weeks ago on the 5th. As of the 12th, I felt about the same and not much had changed. Leading into the 3rd week, I was concerned about the lack of (additional) progress. I was still taking pain killers and muscle relaxers, and quite frankly, still SUPER uncomfortable. My surgeon confirmed everything looked good, was in the range of normal and so I continued to wait.

On Monday the 14th, I suddenly felt SO MUCH better! It was astonishing! This past week was night and day with how I'd been feeling. As of Wednesday, zero pain. I can sleep easily, I'm not napping during the day anymore, I can wear regular (non button-front/zip front) clothing...magic I tell ya!

AND, I drove 3 times this week! The last time I drove my car was September 23rd! Eesh.  I go back to work on Tuesday. In the 4 weeks since I've been home, the weather has turned and my closet was still full of summer clothes. When I do seasonal closet swaps, I also purge.

Long story short, nothing that is a wrap style will work going forward. That isn't surprising. If I made any wrap front garments, they would have absolutely required an FBA.

This NL6301 (a few versions seen here!) wrap dress just does NOT work. LOL!

This NL6123 dress - WAHHH! I have a wedding to attend in early November and I have worn this to a couple weddings and it's a great party dress. 

Here, you can see it isn't just the bust that doesn't fit. The entire neckline (including the back), the armholes, the fit is completely different. 
I couldn't take the dress off fast enough to try on one of my favorite tops. OY!!!!!! It is also weirdly loose in the entire neck/shoulder...and then there's the bust.

Breast reductions includes a lift. The dart is circled and it definitely pointed to my bust point when the top was made. The scribbled line is my new bust point.  

Well now, this is going to be interesting...

-Solid colored tops with darts are out - the dart is completely and noticeably in the wrong place. 
-Princess seamed garments are out because there's too much fullness and I would have, in most cases, lowered the bust point. 
-Pullover tops (like my beloved M6519) seem okay. 
-Tees and other knits that I made 'cheater FBA' adjustments on fit okay in the bust but are a bit droopy at the neckline. 
-Any shopping that I do is more than likely from LOFT. I have quite a few LOFT tops and some of my faves are their "mixed media" where the back is knit and the front is woven. As expected, these fit great now. Below is the single RTW dress that I own (for work...I have a few casual dresses).

Big difference!

Lastly, I cleaned out my bra drawer. There is a non profit that collects new and gently used bras and I'll be shipping the nice ones off to them. The others that showed obvious wear, I harvested the rings and sliders from. It wasn't until I finished that I realized my new size probably won't require the super wide straps/elastic that was needed in these bras. 

I can't wait until I'm fully healed to explore bra making! Most swelling will resolve by ~3 months and final shape and size can often be realized by around month 6. Although the window given is usually 6-12 months.

I have been working on a project for Minerva Crafts, so that'll be coming eventually...after finishing that up, I cut out a new version of M7812. I was able to UNDO MY FBA! I'll include the details when I review it but I was so, so happy to do so :-D

It's still a WIP and I'm wearing a sports bra (for compression for a few more weeks!) but I am so, so, happy with the fit!

red lacing was just to try it on before finishing the side seams...
still needs hemming all around (neckline, hem, sleeves)


Friday, October 18, 2019

Burda Style 04/2019 #119/120

This April issue has been one of my favorites of 2019. I've made 2 of the patterns but there's easily a handful more that I'd love to make!

So, this was finished back in July. The good thing about not reviewing patterns immediately is that you get a real feel for the pattern, the fabric and the fit. So while I hate that I'm so far behind on blogging, this is the plus side of that!

I've worn this dress a ton. A. TON! The rayon challis (FabricMart I think) makes it easy to wear and super comfortable and the print is versatile enough to transition into fall. I haven't worn it since the temps have dropped, but I took photos wearing boots and, it works just as I thought it would!

There are 2 views of that pattern - the other view is maxi length with no ruffles, with breast pockets and epaulets. I made view #120 without the sleeve ruffle. In the right fabric, I like the ruffle (I think Burda's fabric is too stiff for them), but I knew I wanted this to be a transition piece and by eliminating the sleeve ruffle, I can wear this with jackets and looser cardigans.

view #120

I sewed a size 40 neckline and shoulder, graded to a 42. I did not do an FBA because I knew surgery was pending. There was slight gaping in the front before and now, all flat :-D

The pattern just skims the body in such a nice way. You can see by the line drawing that there isn't a ton of shaping - but it works. Ignore my bad posture on the left. The dress really does sit level on me :)

I love gathered ruffles but hate sewing them. I opted for a rolled hem on the ruffle over narrowing hemming all that fabric.

I chose to interface but the collar and facing for stability and to make it easier to sew it all together. I used the *extremely* light Pro-Sheer Elegance by Fashion Sewing Supply.

The armhole is just hemmed. I did that before sewing the side seams. 

While working on it, I'd posted button options on IG. I was almost sold on a metal button but these just felt right with this fabric & pattern!

As you can see from the line drawing, this pattern only included 6 buttons. I used 8 or 9.

If you were maybe perhaps possibly considering this pattern...SEW IT! :) I really love this dress. Definitely need a solid version! 

I didn't post a surgery update last week because I literally felt the same as the previous week. I will be posting an update tomorrow though - lots of sewing related stuff as I had a chance to get my fall clothes out and summer put away.

I'm going to be busy, busy trying to replace things!