Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Closet Case Nettie + Vogue 1501 Skirt

You didn't happen to remember that in my last post I said come back Monday for the Nettie review, did you?? :)  It has rained for like 5 days straight here! Cloudy and overcast and gloomy so I couldn't get photos...and these are just okay.

Pattern Description:

The Nettie is a quick and easy to make wardrobe staple. Close fitting with high cut arms, she can be made into a knit dress OR a bodysuit. This pattern is infinitely customizable with a choice of 3 sleeve lengths, 2 neckline and 3 back variations.

Go modest with a bateau neckline or show off some skin with a scoop neck and low back version. The bodysuit variation has a low cut bum to prevent annoying panty lines, along with an optional snap crotch so you don’t have to get naked to use the ladies’ room. The leg and neck openings are finished with the same stretch fabric you’ll use to make the bodice, so this is a budget conscious project – you don’t need any extra notions unless you’re adding crotch snaps or a shelf bra.

Pattern Sizing:
2-18; 32" to 44" bust / 25" to 37" waist / 34" to 46" hip. I used a 14 front neckline and 16 for the rest.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Well there are tons of options as mentioned in the description. I went with a high neck (I swear I thought I traced off the scoop) and high back.

The cut will eliminate any panty lines but mehhhhhh I don't like it. 
It shouldn't matter because it'll always be under other clothing.

I really liked the color and texture of the fabric and wanted the back work appropriate.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. However, I'm not one that needs hand-holding and I find that a lot of Indie pattern instructions annoy me. Sorry but true! I'm just not a fan of the conversational tone and paragraphs upon paragraphs of info.

Now, it's better than Style Arc for example, who might have 3 sentences!

The pictorials and such are good.

I DID NOT LIKE THE TILE LAYOUT. Blerrrrrrgh. The layout shows a 5x5 grid with the short length horizontal. But the pages print in an order that you lay them out vertically. I've never had to stop and think about how to tile a PDF. I've never had to take a break from a 25 page PDF. So that was a bit annoying.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
It's a bodysuit! What's not to love!? Personally, I was ecstatic to see bodysuits make a comeback. I'd love a woven button front with knit bodysuit bottom. No untucked shirts!? Though I rarely tuck my shirts...but still!

I don't like the cut on the leg. I knew I wouldn't like it generally but I really don't like it on me. I want to try the new McCalls pattern to see if I prefer a brief cut. I'm not a huge fan of the finish on the crotch. IDK if or how the ends can be finished better, I just felt like it was fiddly. I used a polka-dot shirting to finish mine off :)

I basted in place by hand before sewing

Fabric Used:
Jacquard jersey knit with 4 way stretch from FM. It stretches about the same amount in both directions. I don't have a percent stretches enough!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made my binding wider. A little too wide...The pattern has 1.5" strips and I went up to 2 1/8". Would do 1 7/8" next time. The binding will finish at 3/8" with the pattern measurement (which would actually be a tiny bit less with turn of cloth). I find this ok for the legs but too puny for a neckline.

You can also see the texture nicely in this photo!

When I looked up the chart for the binding I was all...okay, cool. Then there was a note that the leg bindings are 85% and neckline 90%. Normally, I ignore binding lengths and measure my neckline / make a judgment on the amount of stretch in my fabric. I have never(!), ever cut a binding at 90% of the opening. So YMMV on that.

After constructing, I ended up removing 1/2" from the legs tapering to nothing at the crotch flap (hahahaha).

I would definitely set snaps or buy some snap tape for future makes. I didn't enjoy sewing on 3 sets of snaps. I will make a hefty bicep adjustment. I considered a pivot/slide for more bust room but I like it snug and I think the scoop would look better and take some of the focus off of the bust. Full bust + high necklines = meh most of the time.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would! I really like the concept and there are so many ways to personalize it.  I tried this on with a ton of things in my closet...they don't necessarily match the teal, but the idea of bodysuit + skirt or pants (wide legs!) etc made me happy. I'd love to find a nice cotton/lycra and make one in black and one in white with mid-scoop back and short sleeves. Would be awesome for summer.

The pattern is drafted for a height of 5'6". I'm 5'5" but I have a short torso. I find it to be a little long BUT IMO that means I can make it with a fabric that may not have as much vertical stretch. I can fold out a little (like 5/8") for stretchier fabrics.  

And this goes together FAST! Yes, that is a relative term and I know I'm a speed-demon (I'm like that in every facet of my life...much to my mother's chagrin)...but using a serger it's zip, zip, zip! I only used my machine to topstitch the sleeve hems and attach the fabric for the snap area.

I know I need to do a full bicep adjustment, do you think the shoulder is just too narrow (a problem I NEVER have) or that the bicep is too snug causing it to pull? I found myself pulling it "out" at the shoulders while wearing.

And, as promised, Vogue 1501 as a skirt! Nothing to add's exactly the same as the dress, fabric and all :)

If you look at the photo directly above you'll see I'm pretty straight through the hips. I appreciate the "bump" at the hips from the volume in this skirt! I think you'd be hard pressed to find a black woman complaining about something making their hips or butt look bigger! :-p Bring it on! lol!!!

I did have a mishap wherein I serged a hole in my skirt back finishing the side seams. WAH. I whined about it, noted there was a tiny hole on the seam line in front (interfaced the area, fraychecked, and sewed just outside of it when I redid it), unpicked it, cut a new skirt back, sewed the darts, reattached it (I didn't undo the pocket and was just very careful about attaching the new skirt back to the pocket) all in 30 minutes!

Oh wait! There is a difference...My labels! <3

I sewed it to the facing before the facing was attached, stitching down the short sides.


I ~LOVE~ this outfit!! So even though spring refuses to show up and STAY here, I'm going to keep cranking out pretty things that scream spring!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Custom Labels and Friday Miscellany

First...Eeek! I finally got custom labels!!!!

Abby from Dutch Label Shop had contacted me previously about reviewing their custom woven labels. I had way too much going on and never even responded (oops!). When she followed up with me last week, I was definitely interested.

You've probably heard of Dutch Label Shop by now and have seen their products in blogland and on IG. I've started a couple of labels myself over the past few months but could never decide on the "right" label and this time, I still couldn't. So I ended up designing 3 different labels!

There's a few different offerings in their shop and plenty of room for personalization. For the basic woven labels:
  • 3 sizes available
  • Up to 3 lines of text which can be aligned left, right or centered
  • 19 label colors
  • 23 text colors including 4 sparkly options(!)
  • Notification of your label and text don't have enough contrast
  • 51 (I think) font options
  • A plethora of symbol options!
  • You can also choose sew on or iron on
Some of the extras do come with a fee, about 4 cents per label each (e.g, adding a symbol, choosing sparkly text) and the iron-on labels are more expensive than sew-on. The display label updates in real-time as you make changes.

I placed my order on 5/10, received a shipping notice on 5/15 and received them on 5/18. They are really nice! They're a nice size, the stitching is clean and the colors are vibrant.

I just think this font type, the sparkle and the needle just go with my blog name! :)
I like this basic label. I also think it can work vertically if needed. On this one, I went with the double white background option. This is suggested when you are using white background with dark text.
I actually completed this one first and was TOO excited to see that glittery gold was an option! 

I also ordered some stock labels, the Made in USA, in black and lime green. I didn't get as many of the lime ones and I do prefer the black. I think the contrast between the bright lime and white text don't work that well together. The text isn't as easy to make out.

I intend to use these for things I may not want a label in, like pj pants (of which I still need!), but need to distinguish front from back easily. 

I am pretty happy with my labels and glad I finally 'bit the bullet'. 

Dutch Label Shop  is offering you all a 15% discount on your purchase. The discount is available for the next 30 days, using the code sewcraftychemist15


What's Friday without a little randomness?

Gifted Apparel NYC just continues to get my money. This is my 3rd purchase from them. And I totally want the "IDK & IDC" sweatshirt!

Wilson the cat is so adorable right??! <3

I'm addicted to Snapchat filters :-p

(I don't use Snap publicly...only with friends and family)


Last but not least, the winner of Vogue 1501. Using the random number generator...the winner is Karen!

Please email me at sewcraftychemist -at- gmail -dot- com with your mailing address!

And yes...I still sew. Well theoretically! Life has been CRAZY busy and I haven't made it to the cave in a week and a half. I just put a couple of fabrics in the wash and the Nettie bodysuit shall be miiiiiine this weekend! Come back Monday to see how it turned out!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Miscellany

I kind of enjoy having features...and reading blogs that have an ongoing feature. Plus, we know how much I love random smatterings of thoughts, photos and ideas. :)
  • I made no official Me Made May pledge this year. I am wearing something handmade almost everyday. It's pretty much a shock if I'm NOT wearing something handmade. So thanks to everyone that blogs about it vs keeping it on IG!
  • Carolyn reviewed the new Sew Sew Def Magazine and I commented on definitely wanting to give it a try (even though I'm more of a paper-in-hand kind of person), and Mimi was kind enough to offer me an issue for free. I hope to read it this weekend!
  • Orlando was SO MUCH FUN!!!! The weather was absolutely perfect while we were there. HOT and sunny the day we were out on the lake and *cool and breezy when we went to Epcot.
*I was melting when we first got in town. My company has a location in Orlando so we visited for a quick minute and they were SO happy with the weather and I was practically gasping for air. By day 2, I had on a jean jacket in the early evening even though it was 80. It was "cool". When we left, I had on jeans, a tee and my denim jacket. When I got home, Minneapolis was around 66 degrees and I was so hot!!!! in that jacket and jeans. Hahahaha! Perspective! :)
I adore this dress and it was very comfortable while traveling.

He had to prove to some 2nd graders that he met Anna and Elsa! I chose this one because Anna is realllly gripping that bicep there! :-p

We spent HOURS at the pool...
...and look how toasty-brown my face is! I get so ruddy when I do manage to get a tan
Even though Minnesota is home to 10,000 lakes (it's actually 11,842 lakes that are 10 acres or more!), I am rarely just outside, chilling. A decade ago I went to Mexico with intentions on lying by the pool and "getting a tan". Well, I had never in my life put sunscreen on my body and! My face peeled so badly when I got home! Lesson learned!
So we were armed with sunscreen before heading poolside!
I found the cutest, most perfect suit, with cup sizing (!!!) at Target of all places! Win!

We did some kayaking and jet skiing (the boy was a complete maniac on the jetskis!)

I opted for a cute, curly half wig during the trip because I am currently (attempting) to transition from relaxed to natural and 'ain't nobody got time' to be trying to manage all this on vacation!

Somehow "mom you should get those!" turned into all 3 of us getting new shoes (same shoe, different colors...they didn't have black in my size)

We came home to a very happy kitty who certainly missed us dearly! Though he was being pretty shady...I think he was mad. ;-)
I was being quite the bum on Sunday and decided to head to the cave. Boy was I glad that I'd (mostly!) cleaned up before I left!
IDK why there's a basketball there. I had to retire my (otherwise amazing!) Fitz Like a Glove! ironing board cover. It was REALLY nice and had amazing padding and was only moderately discolored. But some boy (he says his friend did it which means he totally probably did it...) had a moment of curiosity with an ironing board cover and a rotary cutter. :side eye:
I cut out 3 t-shirt dresses for the girl using M6964 which I've made for her 2-3 times already as dresses.

On Sunday I cut them out and serged them up. On Monday, I pressed all the hems up (bleh). On Tuesday, I hemmed them and applied the neck bindings.

The first one is a fantastic jersey from a FM precut. Great recovery, completely opaque, really nice fabric.
The second one is a 1 yard (about 40") cut of ponte also from FM, purchased a long time ago.
The third is the same jersey I used for the failed Burda dress. MUCH stretchier than the first one and harder to manage with hemming, but still opaque enough.
I stabilized the shoulders of the jersey dresses with elastic. I also cut the black/white neckband a little shorter since it was crazy stretchy, and cut the ponte one a tad bit longer. After finishing, I removed about an inch of flare from front and back at the hem, grading to nothing at the hip.

She loves these dresses!
Are you still here!? :) IDK what's up next. we have a busy weekend planned and I'm unsure I'll get to all of my May "must haves" less known start dress-a-palooza. We shall see!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Vogue 1501: The "weird" Rachel Comey Dress

I know, right? Luckily, I've managed to learn to look beyond the pattern photo...and when it's a designer pattern, Google is definitely your friend!

Here is the dress:

IDK why it looks so much cooler on the designer's model but that happens often!

It's SUPER cool in a solid and I've decided I have to have a black one! Eek!


The movement in the skirt is wonderful!

Pattern Description:
Sleeveless dress has shoulder pads, loose-fitting, shaped, front pleated bodice attached to waistband (front only), front pleated skirt, side pockets, narrow hem, back neck slit, button/loop, and invisible zipper. Purchased bias tape finishes seams.

Pattern Sizing:
6-14 and 14-22. I sewed a 14/16/18.

14 neck/shoulder, 16 through the bust and waist, and an 18 in the skirt.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
It does and I love it! <3

Were the instructions easy to follow?
They were. I got confused by the bodice pleats though and mine are wrong. :( I stitched them (like release tucks??) on the wrong side when they're just supposed to be folded and basted.



FYI, if you aren't adding the gusset for the shoulder pad, you don't need to partially sew the front/back and facings.

When I sewed the J.Crew knockoff dress, I mentioned liking the 3-open-seams method of lining a sleeveless dress. This pattern sews the seams on bodice and facings, but leaves the shoulder seams open; and then they are sewn in the round. This works fine here because the shoulders are nice and wide. On that Burda dress, with those narrow shoulders, that would've been a bit of a nightmare (btdt).

All in one facings are prettttty neat.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
It's interesting, modern, and chic. It's actually fitted but doesn't look it. A really great pattern.

The front tuck detail is perfect and your body will be fully covered even thought that's the only place where it's connected to the skirt.

I have a pretty short torso! I have the skirt at my natural waist.

Now, getting out of it is weird...but it's worth it :)

Invisible zipper

The bodice hem has these angles that are kind of soft on mine because...poly blouse weight.

Surprisingly, it looks fantastic with a 1/2" shoulder pad! The pattern recommends 3/4" which is over the top (like the pattern photo). I'm going to make a self-fabric covered 3/8" pad and add it. I really like it with the store-bought pad, but it's too thick and bulky.

I had a photo but my terrible posture made it impossible to see the difference in the two.

The waistband was uninterfaced and the facing interfaced. I find it's usually the other way this to keep the outside "soft"?

Fabric Used:
Poly blouseweight woven from Fabric Mart. I bought 5 yards of this stuff, I loved the print so much!

It shreds so be careful if you have it...but it does take a press with a little steam. And OMG! My serger hated this stuff. I had to go with some crazy settings to get it to feed through without the being eaten.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
The skirt has volume in front due to the pleats but it is actually semi-fitted through the hips, and fitted at the waist.

I used a size 18 skirt and waistband but ended up with like an extra 3/4" of fabric on my waistband (and facing!) so me thinks I did not do a perfect job on folding in those pleats - mark them carefully!!. As a result it zips at my natural waist but only at my natural waist. LOL!

I ain't French seaming pockets. That is not something I even remotely care it didn't happen.

I have a big head. There's a back slit at I can just get it over my head. Oh and I totally forgot about the fabric loop when I sewed up the bodice/facing and ended up just doing a hook & eye at the neckline.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others:
As mentioned I am making this as a skirt in the same print and would love to have it in black.

Highly recommend it and my biggest tip would be FIT THAT WAISTBAND!  Thankfully, the waistband piece has finished pattern measurements!

Oh! How could I forget...When I got ready to sew this, I started cutting the pattern pieces - I always rough cut, iron, cut - I got to the waistband and saw that the 14 was the largest size and the finished waist was 30.5"! My waist is 34.5"!!! I was hemming and hawing and a lightbulb went off...Vogue was on sale at JoAnn. So I went and got a new pattern!

I have NO IDEA why I had the smaller size range on this. Sheesh. But, if you want it, it's YOURS. I have to say US only, unless you're willing to pay for shipping. I would estimate, with an envelope, 4 oz (probably less but that's a safe bet), and you can check shipping rates at and use zip code 55401. I will use a random number generator based on comments.

As mentioned, a few pieces are rough cut (meaning all size cutting lines are still intact; and it's size 6-14).

**I'll post the winner for the pattern on Saturday, 5/13. So any comments through Friday, 5/12 will be included. Thanks!!**

Love. I really love everything about it. Even the higher neckline works! Bummed that I didn't get to wear it to my event on Monday (it snowed. Only a little...but it was 30 degrees and nighttime and way too cold to wear this. Booooo tundra!)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Thakoon Designer Fleece + Faux Leather! Mmmmm!

I just happened to be wearing these LOFT pants that day...I think they're way too bright for this top.

Pattern Description:

This oversized chunky knit sweater will be perfect for chilly fall days. The wide collar forms a counterpoint to the long raglan sleeves. An inconspicuous zipper allows for easy on and off.

Pattern Sizing:
34-44. I cut a 42, which I've made this before, and decided not to add any side seam allowances to the bodice or sleeve. I did add seam allowances of 3/8" to the CF, CB, shoulder/collar and where the sleeve connects to the bodice. I did not add hem allowance.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
It did! I loved this sweater so much and it got caught in Sweatergate 2016. I was so excited when I realized it would work perfectly for this Thakoon fabric.

Designer inspiration:

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Actually, yes! It's the featured sewing lesson pattern.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the style. I actually really like the hi-low hem on this. The sleeves are EXTRA roomy which I don't care for...

Fabric Used:
Thakoon sweatershirt fleece or French terry?? I'm not sure. I know I don't like French terry. I feel like I'm the only person who doesn't...I don't like sewing it and I don't like wearing it. And this reminded me of it but it's gorgeous so I figured it was worth it :)

And Telio "perfection fused leather" from by way of Amazon.

I feel like this photo accurately captures the texture! It's yummy!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Mostly what was mentioned in sizing. The collar is really floppy and the fabric has an obvious wrong side. I did a double turned 5/8" hem to remove a little height. Because of the fabric, I also did a double turned hem on the bottom. But I have a short torso so this works out fine, especially with Burda.

This was started on April 16th and finished on April 30th. EESH. 

I had initially made the entire sleeve pleather and it was WAY too stiff. And because it's a raglan-type sleeve I had to do a lot of dismantling to change it. I was not a happy camper. 

I only had scraps of fabric at that point and the fabric part of the sleeve was basically based on the scraps. I then layered the new partial sleeve over the old full pleather sleeve and added 1/2" to the pleather, and cut it there. I attached them with a 1/4" seam allowance. 

The pleather sewed just fine with a size 14 stretch needle, slightly looser tension and a longer stitch length. When it came time to hem the sleeves, it was not working. I switched to a leather needle which was worse. Funnily, I got it to feed just fine sewing from the 'outside' vs when I was sewing inside the sleeve, with the exposed part in contact with the feed dogs. 

I turned my iron off and let it cool till it was *just* warm, placed my press cloth over the sleeve hems, and light pressed, then finger pressed. This worked out well.

My serger stitches are blue because I'd switched to the Vogue dress when I realized I had to take this apart! But the fabric did need serging because the inside is all loopy.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I don't know how many of these I can have, but it's a fun top. I know I was pushing it getting this done in April but I got to wear it once at least! Hopefully it won't get cold enough again! LOL!

When I originally decided to make this I just wanted so badly to pair with my new quickie skirt; version number 4? 5? of M6654. I bought 1 yard of this double knit from Fabric Mart - nope, I thought NOTHING about matching that huge print. Good grief.

I cut a size 14, at a length between views C and D, and sewed 3/8" side seams as with prior versions. 

However, I wanted to "sew this up quick" before I had to get my son and accidentally serged the waist seam and hem seam instead of the side seams! hahahaha! So rather than unpick, I just cut that off. I adjusted my waistband and just took the loss on length on the skirt. The edge is serged and it's turned up with a 3/4" hem and stitched with a twin-needle.

Ahhhh. So close on those side seams :)