Monday, May 21, 2018

Weekend Sewapalooza!

This post is huge. Sorry not sorry! :-p
Because life, I finally had a chance to exhale this past Monday and decided that I would spend Friday night and all. day. Saturday sewing. I knew I'd have to come back to reality on Sunday :) but Friday after work through early Sunday morning would be mine.

First, a pic! Then, lots of words about my process, then reviews.


I made 5.5 things. Because people ask (all the time! LOL!), I will talk about the sew-a-palooza process :-p

1) Just me being...Me
You all know I sew fast. There's no special sauce; it I am a Project Runway fan. (I'm sure I've told this story before!) Kini Zamora was on season 13 of PR. It aired in 2014 and I'd been sewing about a year and a half. If you watched, you know that Kini would turn out his garments and be sitting back, chilling, while the rest of the designers were working. Kini sewed FAST. Now, whether or not you liked his aesthetic, you'd have to acknowledge that he did NOT sew 'throw away' designs. He sewed fast, with detail and tailoring and fit and no one knew how he did it. I started calling Kini my brother from another mother...and I stopped questioning my ability to sew fast. And stopped feeling weird over the constant comments that I must not sleep. I totally do. 8-10 hours every night. Because I am a giant toddler in so many ways! AND I don't even sew "constantly"! More on that later.

1a) By the time I start cutting something out, I have the entire construction process mapped out mentally. I know what I'm going to do, in the order I'm going to do it, and I try to be as efficient as possible. I see a lot of commentary about "rushing" whenever someone mentions fast sewing. I don't rush...I just do pretty much everything, in a direct manner. I'm not a 'faffer'...with anything.

2) Plan
This was a planned binge-sewing event. Two or three times a year (we have 2.5 seasons soooo), I make a big list of garments that I want. I do not sew exclusively from that list, nor do I necessarily finish the list...but it guides my sewing to a degree. I'd mentioned needing more summer tops, tees/knits in particular. I have a lot(!!!) of blue and black & white print tops and dresses. That's okay...those are my favorite...but I felt like I didn't have enough SUMMER! work wear and decided to focus on those things.

2a) A good plan
Knowing what my focus was for the weekend, I chose to
1) only make patterns I'd sewn before. They didn't need to be "quick to sew" patterns...but I didn't want to bother with cutting pattern tissue, fitting, etc. I wanted to sew. By using patterns I'd sewn before, I was able to get right down to business!
2) focus on knits. I needed more knit tops but also, the fabrics I wanted to sew were primarily knits. So I rolled with it!

3) Organize
I decided to start with the simplest patterns (sewn as-is). I started with the Ottobre 2/2015 tee, then the McCall's 7465 dress, then the Burda 7107 wrap top, then the McCall's 6964 tee, then the McCall's 6612 dress (not actually more difficult than anything else but I wanted to play with a sleeve idea).

3a) I am not a sewer who cares much about serger threads matching. Sometimes I depends on the garment and whether there's a chance it'll be seen. Otherwise I tend to come "close". I went with gray. I used it in all 5 garments.

4) Sew!
Friday I took my daughter to the airport (she's doing study abroad in Iceland and Denmark!), came home, got all of my fabric and patterns out, washed the orange jersey and lace and started sewing around 6:30.

so much words

Saturday I woke up and got started right away, a little before 7. The Ottobre tee and McCall's dress needed binding and hemming which, my machines are a bit loud (Brother serger and coverstitch) so I tend to wait until at least 9 a.m. to use them. My sewing room is in a bedroom now and the teenaged people are in the basement. I decided to work on the Burda wrap top during the 'quiet hours'.

Once, I was chatting with Carolyn and somehow mentioned that I don't sew continuously. I get I take frequent breaks. I sewed from around 7-9, stopped to eat and watch one of my DVRd shows that I'd missed during the week. I sewed from around 10-noon, then washed my hair and watched a hilariously awful Lifetime movie. At 2:30 I started again and this time I binged. I sewed until about 9:30 stopping at one point to order pizza (mmmmm!) and eat. And again to harass my son and his friends.

Sunday morning I cut out and sewed M6612. I was able to finish it last night at about 6:30. I'd taken all the other pics on a pit stop home around 2. While taking pics of the dress it was HILARIOUS seeing the sunlight in the room change as time moved. It was seriously like, different lighting 2 minutes after taking a pic.

My errands took me near the original SR Harris location so I decided why not! I found a rayon challis that I just loved. I was able to get another TNT, McCall's 6519 cut out and sewn (shoulder seams, side seams). I hope to finish it Monday or Tuesday.

EPIC sewing weekend for me! I think I'm ready to work on my Burda trench now! :)


Ottobre Tee (previously reviewed here)

I realized that last time, I put the yoke in backwards! Doh! That explains why the neckline was weird! I played around with doing a gathered overlay on the yoke but the fabric was too heavy/bouncy. I finished the top and my binding was HORRID. I ended up ripping out all of the binding Friday night and cutting/sewing new bindings on Saturday. I still don't like the sleeve bindings. IF I used this pattern again, I'd just hem the sleeves.

I added some flat piping because why not!?

Size &Adjustments: 44 with slightly widened sleeve openings (cause, biceps)

Fabric: rayon jersey in an icy blue-grey from SR Harris that is heavy enough and opaque enough that it could have been a dress.

Construction: fully constructed on the serger, hemmed with the coverstitch

I like this top and will wear it. It's the perfect blue-grey, it fits fine and is a nice length. And the shoulder yoke adds a little something extra. But I probably won't use this pattern again.

McCall's 7465 (previously reviewed here)

I LOVE the pink version and wear it but it's a little clingy! I usually wear my tricot slip with it. This Art Gallery knit was purchased FOR this pattern. I bought it right after I made the pink version which was last June! Then I hurt my hand, didn't sew for forever, and then it was almost fall and a bright floral dress didn't make sense. I've been waiting for this and it did not disappoint!

Size & Adjustments: 14 neckline/shoulder, 16 through the rest. Based on the fit of the other one, ahem, I added 5/8" to the back skirt at the side seam. Next time I'll only add that from waist through thigh.

Fabric: Art Gallery cotton lycra knit from I'd purchased 1.5 yards, because it's like $18 and I knew I didn't need 2 yards...but then I had to hunt for a scrap to make binding from! LOL! And I couldn't make 'traditional' binding from those scraps so I cut a strip 1.25", sewed it to the neckline, trimmed/graded seams, then turned it to the inside and top stitched.

Construction: Constructed on the serger except for the elastic waist casing and neckline finishing, hemmed with the coverstitch.

I LOVE THIS DRESS. I love every single thing about it. Fabric? Love. Fit? Love. Length? Love. Every single bit of it! I think this pattern elevates to TNT, no? I may try one of the other views someday. You know my "I love this face" see it? Right?! :)
I even managed to (mostly) match the striped with my miniscule amount of fabric!

Burda 7107 (previously reviewed here)

I wear that green top all.the.time. All the time. I love it so much. I will definitely end up with a black version at some point.

Size & Adjustments: 42 with 1" bicep adjustment and sleeves shortened based on fabric constraints. Side seams sewn at 1/4", waist seam sewn at 1/2"

Fabric: Oatmeal colored rayon jersey from Fashion Fabrics Club.

Construction: Primarily constructed on the sewing machine. Only the side seams and sleeves were done on the serger. I left the center back seam unserged since the fabric is slightly sheer. The ties were partially hemmed on the machine, the rest (bottom all the way around) on the coverstitch.

Swoon. I love this one just as much as the green one! I see myself wearing this a ton. And I love the fabric color and it feels great on...but tissue knits are of the devil. They are right there with stretch cotton poplin and solid rayon challis. EVIL!

Exhibit A of "clearly I am feeling myself in this top"!

McCall's 6964 (previously sewn in 2015 and reviewed on the old blog)

I talked about wanting a couple 'fancy' tees here. And when I found that orange lace at The Sewing Lounge, I could not wait for this to happen!!

 Size & Adjustments: 14 neckline, 16 for the rest. 1" Full bicep adjustment.

Fabric: Wool jersey from Fabric Mart, lace from The Sewing Lounge in St. Paul.

Construction: I tried on one of my other versions of this and decided where the front lace 'yoke' should be. I marked it on the pattern and cut out full fronts and backs and partial yokes (extending about 1" below the line I wanted). I attached the lace to the right side with a zig-zag and then cut away the main fabric. I used my duckbill Ginghers (best purchase ever!) to trim the lace. The binding was also done by machine.

If you mind your markings...

...and sew slowly, things should work out!!

(my neckline looked better (here) before I chose to coverstitch it...but it kept wanting to flip up!)

I think I was most excited about this tee. Maybe more than the Art Gallery print dress. I know that orange (and coral! and yellow!) really, really work for my skin tone so I could not wait. I love it, I adore it, it's awesome, none of that seems to actually sum it up! Perfect wardrobe addition.

I was watching Girlfriends while taking pics and that is a real, geniuine laugh there! LOL

McCall's 6612 (previously sewn here)

I really like both prior versions and wanted a new dress, in a print, for summer. Now, I know this print doesn't read "summer" as it's a little dark...but I thought the colors were nice and different from other things in my wardrobe currently. I saw this dress online and decided to copy the open sleeves with ties at end. SUMMER! LOL!

I realize now that the sleeves really work here because they're loose and blousy
and the bodice is loose and blousy.

No, I did not purposely match the darker 'stripes' on body/sleeves.
It's pretty close though. WIN!

Size & Adjustments: 14 neck/shoulders, 16 bust/waist, 18 hip. Lengthened 2",  1" bicep adjustment, sleeves shortened to 3/4 length and slit with tie closure.

I traced a new sleeve, slit it down the center, slightly curved it through the middle of the sleeve, and added back the seam allowance. I sewed the first 6" of the sleeve and hemmed it the rest of the way. I cut 3" strips of fabric so the bands and ties finished at about 1 1/4".

Fabric: Fabric Mart precut. I'd passed on this one before; I didn't like the striping/chevron much until I saw a dress made from it on Pattern Review. The next time precuts went on sale, I bought it!

Construction: Back neckline is hemmed and shoulder seam sewn on the sewing machine. Side seams and sleeve side seam serged. Slit and tie bands constructed on sewing machine. Sleeve serged to dress...hemmed on the coverstitch.

I was very torn when I had the body constructed. I was going to leave it sleeveless. But then decided it would be limited by the print. I would likely on pair it with black or denim toppers. I pinned the sleeve in place and liked it on the dress form so I decided to move forward. When I first finished it I was torn again! I toyed around with lots of other options for the sleeve (adding another tie just above the elbow, closing it up more, closing it all the way but just leave the tie at the end).

In an effort to ensure it wasn't gaping open (too snug), I actually made the sleeve too big. So it's a bit too loose at the cuff to close the rest of the sleeve (I pinned it and it would look odd) and there was NO WAY I was going to undo all the stitching from adding the lower band/tie to take in the sleeve seam. I do not dislike it! I'm just not sure it works as well as I hoped it would.

I've decided I have to wear it to really assess how I feel about the sleeve.

You're STILL here?! Either you love sewing talk as much as I do or you're just a gluton for punishment! :-p

Now of course, I've sewn these summer things and we're supposed to have rain and cloudy weather this whole week! Good grief!

Until later...


  1. I can't believe you got all that done in one weekend! You are fast! You made some lovely garments and they all look really good on you!

  2. What a wonderfully productive week-end you had! I love the split sleeve on the black and white dress. And yes, the orange t-shirt looks fabulous on you.

  3. I love sewing as much as you do - LOL! The last dress lokked iffy on the dress form and then WOW you make it rock!
    My sewing binges are usually for my kids. I sew in multiples of 8 - 10 same pattern. I watch re-runs on utbe and zone out sewing up to 12 hours! Only taking a break to eat. I love it! (because I love what I make them ;o)
    What a wonderful opportunity for your daughter!!! How exciting!
    p.s. I'm in Central MN, I grew up East side St Paul and Robbinsdale.

    1. :waves: I spent the teen years in North Minneapolis so close proximity to Robbinsdale!

      That’s pretty cool to be able to just binge sew for the kids. And fun too :)

      I was iffy on that dress but liked it much more once I saw the photos!

  4. omg you have had an awesome sewcation! I love that Burda 7107 wrap top and it looks amazing on you. Great job on all your makes and i guess i love sewing as well cause i was hanging on each and every word.

  5. Everything looks great and I like it all! I know that I'm one of the ones who have commented on how fast you sew - that's only because it amazes me. I plan sewing binges that start right after work on Friday, but after eating dinner I fizzle out and nothing at all gets sewn. I also use to be able to pull an occasional all nighter, but that doesn't happen anymore because it actually became kinda painful. Sew on, because I love watching.

    1. I love it! Haha! I certainly fizzle a lot of the time as well!

  6. That striped/floral dress!! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ I love everything you made. And I also don't always match my serger thread. It doesn't affect how well made a garment is nor detract from my enjoyment wearing it.

  7. Loved on the info on your process and am so impressed by all your makes, especially the dress from the art gallery fabric - divine! Life is stealing my mojo at the moment so I'm living vicariously through others :)

    1. Thanks Robyn! It can get pretty rough to overcome stressors. I sure hope you get through it soon.

  8. I love everything you made and you look amazing in all the photos - clearly you had a great time on your sewpalooza!

  9. Re the McCall's 7465 Art Gallery knit, why do you think you like the cotton jersey this time, but didn't when you made the Oottobre t-shirt? Does it just work better for a dress than a top?

    1. I thought about that. The other print, and other cotton knits I’ve sewn, felt SO thick and fluffy/cottony. This one is much smoother. And they’re both 95% cotton/5% Lycra so I’m not sure!!

  10. I think my favorite is the orange tee. You should make another with lace sleeves. Everything else is fabulous. I usually use shades of gray in my serger. Sew on! g

    1. Thank you! :-D I toyed with lace sleeves. I have a piece of olive jersey that’s so perfect. I’m on the looking for matching lace.

  11. Loved this post! I've got a weekend sewing retreat coming up and trying to plan how to get the most sewing done while I'm there, so your tips are GREAT. I'm a slow sewer though so hoping to get all the cutting done prior to the weekend so all I have to do is sew when I'm there...we'll see if that happens:)

    1. If you can find the time to prep your projects you'll get sooo much more done!!

      Have a great time on your retreat!!

  12. Your are amazing and I love it all!

  13. all great pieces, especially the orange top and the striped dress. I keep eyeing that fabric but $ 18/yd for a cotton knit, to use one of your words, "nope" :) however it is so cute on you.

    1. Thanks Beth!! OMG it was a hard sell and I ordered *exactly* what I needed and was still sweating over spending almost $30 for a knit dress. WHEW!

  14. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!!! You did an amazing job and I love the striped dress fabric. I've been told I sew very fast as well. In fact in a class I took once the instructor came by and said "I don't think I've ever seen someone sew this fast!" My response " I have two small children and limited time to sew!" Really enjoyed your blog and will continue to read!! You go girl!!!~

  15. So many lovely things I don't know where to start!!! I enjoyed hearing your process, and think the wrap is my favorite! But, it all looks good!

  16. Always enjoy reading your blog. So many great projects!

  17. Love your exuberant spirit and sew-worthy skills. Beautiful pieces--all of them. Been eyeing floral striped fabrics for a few weeks now. I can't understand why they are so expensive. Guess I will have to take the plunge and or pray for a sale. Enjoyed reading this post.

    1. Aww thank you so much Robin! Yes, they are popular and can be SO pricey!!!

  18. How fun, and beautiful garments..Just love looking at your garment makes.. Got me in the sewing mood for sure..
    I made granddaughter a dress for her graduation [Friday night], .. Enjoyed the sew.. She loved it. But , So sad to see my babies growing up. lol
    Happy sewing.. So proud you had such a fun sewing weekend.

    1. Thanks Judy! I can't believe she's finished High School!! Wow time flies!

  19. You had a good weekend! Though it would have taken me to Sunday with some dedication to get all those pieces...I'm slowing down in my old age! Glad to know that I'm not the only one who takes breaks during the sewing day. Oh and I have my sewing process worked out before I start to sew when using TNT patterns too.

    1. Hahaha! :)

      I am so excited for your sewcation!!!!

  20. You are a sewing machine -- pun intended! Although I do not sew quickly (and can't crank out 5 projects in a weekend, dayum!), I love long sewing binges -- I feel so accomplished when I sit down and make major headway on a project. I think the key is not dilly-dallying over techniques and finishing, but having a plan and sticking to it.

    1. I love it!!

      Yes, I think that's huge. Sometimes you WANT to "play"...and take things as you go...

  21. You're my sewing rock star! Love that orange t-shirt with the lace, it's perfect.

  22. I understand sewing fast. I use to and like you would sew for a couple of hours/ stop and go at it again. I also did not have any interruption by DH; we have no kids so no interruptions there either. Somewhere along the line, I just slowed down. Right now my sewing space is a total disaster from moving and unpacking. I am always impressed and admire your sewn garments, sew fast or slow, they look well made and well fitting.

    1. Thank you so much Linda!!
      And part of it is, sewing is actually still REALLY new for me. It's only been 5 years. I'll probably slow down eventually. Maybe. :-p
      Hope the new sewing room is AMAZING!

  23. Wow! Super productive sewing day. And everything looks amazing!

  24. Your McCall’s 7464 dress is amazing! I love everything you’ve made, it all looks great

  25. I loved your McCalls 7464 Art Gallery dress so much, I bought the pattern and same fabric and literally made the exact same dress! But I think yours fits better - good job!!!


Your comments are appreciated! I will always respond to questions and try to respond to each and every comment!