Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wrapping up 2016

Another year in the books!!! I think I had a good sewing year and did okay on my goals.

1) Patterns

I have still purchased a ton. Mid year I was planning to fast for the rest of 2016. Big, giant, mega FAIL! :)

I catalog all of my patterns on Pattern Review and looks like I've bought 62 patterns since July 1. Oops.  A total of 102 patterns for the year. In 2015 I purchased a total of 140 patterns. Hey, that's improvement!

2) Fabric

I have purchased WAY less fabric in 2016. According to Fabric Mart, I spent $1,017 over 21 orders in 2015. That number hurts. OUCH! But 2015 was stressful and I'm not surprised. There had to be some SR Harris visits (but not many) and plenty of Hancock visits in there too.

In 2016 that number is $680 over 12 orders. I had one order each in February, March, April, May, June, July, September, December. And I had 2 in August and 2 in October. That is a fantastic improvement!! I had very few visits to SR Harris and lost Hancock this year. I am also good for 1-2 orders from Fashion Fabrics Club so we'll consider that about even from last year to this year.

3) Budget

I didn't end up setting an overall budget but I spent less on patterns and fabric and with Hancock leaving and hating JoAnn, I've been going to Wawak. I don't spend a ton at once but the prices are so much cheaper that they blow JA out of the water on almost everything; even with 50-60% off notions sales. And zippers! I have 19 zippers in my cart right now for a total of around $5.50 (I need serger thread too and with 8 spools I'm at $23 total).

4) Skills

a.) Floaty fabric; crepe has become my friend. Other floaty fabrics can go to hell. LOL!

b.) Sew a blazer; I had planned to give it a shot over break but the fabric I have is much thicker than I think it should be. I had lost 10 yards of lining fabric, found it when I moved, but can't locate it again. Soon. Very soon.

c.) Sew at least 6 Burdas. I've sewn 11 and do plan to sew from December!

There were no actual "fails". I am just uncertain about the length of the black/white top from October and I have the pants marked in my "maybe these won't stick around" pile. We'll see how they fare in the spring when ankle length pants are an option again.

January, April and July's dresses are some of my favorite garments EVER from the year. 

d.) Sew DDs prom dress - did that and used the pattern again to make a gorgeous gown for her concerts!

e.) Sew pajamas - As mentioned mid-year I made a couple of nightgowns and will be sewing PJs from the December Burda. And while I could never actually sleep in full PJs, I want to make a pair with piping and the whole jazz. I just think they're so cute. You know I'm not a "try to do everything with an Indie" type of sewer so B6296 will be the target pattern and I will not be paying oodles of dough for the CCF Carolyn.

f.) Sew a summer wardrobe. I feel like I added cute things but still felt kind of meh this summer. Summer just isn't my season. I think I need to just have all the dresses and live in them.

So, what did I sew?

I didn't keep great records like last year.  I just went through my wrap-ups and PR reviews and I already know some things are missing but that's okay...

Including the month of December, I've sewn a total of 82 items, 75 for myself:

19 Dresses
22 Tops
10 Pants (7 pants, 2 shorts, 1 jean)
11 Skirts
9 Toppers (4 jackets, 4 cardigans, 1 vest)
4 Others (2 sleepwear, 1 activewear, 1 jumpsuit)
7 Items for others (6 for my daughter and 1 for a friend)

I did not slow down from last year as expected. In 2015 I sewed 88 items for myself.

There are a total of 12 items that are no longer in my wardrobe; 1 because I lost all of my sweaters. (I may start crying again at the realization of all that's missing!!). And there are 3 items that are in the naughty box and may not stick around. Of the 15 items, there are:

2 dresses, 7 tops, 3 pants, 1 skirt, 1 jacket, 1 vest

In my ongoing problem category, tops, I've done WAY better!!! Last year I had a 60% success rate. Excluding the lost sweater, I have a 71% success rate on tops this year!



I love everything about this 4/2016 Burda! I should make another one!!!

This Burda from 6/2016 is high on the list too. And it was a FUN project!


New Look 6481 is a WIN. I love this jacket so much!

Butterick 6244 I absolutely adore. What a great save on that fabric. It was in stash for quite a while.


Simplicity 8214; you can't be shocked! :)

WAIT until you see this camel Butterick 5760. It is perfect. It is well sewn (if I do say so myself). I just cannot wait to wear it!!!

The blue boucle version is a close runner up:

The biggest disappointment for me from this year was the casual suit. The fabric was a disappointment and the Kwik Sew jacket pattern was as well. I want to keep them because of the idea of it, but they just do not work well. The fabric is a cotton blend and bags out when worn. The jacket is ill fitting and while I knew that when I finished, it's so much worse every time I try to wear it.

I will post in early January a "goals" post. I will for one be continuing my Burda challenge, amending it a bit. I know I want to continue buying less fabric and fewer patterns, etc. I'll have to think all that through.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Vacation Sewing Progress

I somehow got way too excited about using this (fantastic!) RPL suiting for a skirt (hopefully I have enough for pants too!) and cut out S1322 and got it sewed up. Moved on to my TNT B5760 in this really pretty camel wool suiting and whipped up another version of M6612 in a black and white printed jersey.

Dress needs hems
Grey skirt needs facings tacked down
Camel skirt needs some hand sewing (hemming the skirt and attaching the lining to the zipper tape). I am ecstatic about both skirts but this camel one. Swoon. It is really nice and I can't wait to wear it!

I think I can get the hand sewing done in the morning while the house is silent then I'll get the dress hemmed. I was ready to move on to the other knit dress and then pants and then...

My daughter had asked me to make a velvet dress for her for Christmas. But we were expecting freezing rains that day and therefore dangerous, icy roads. When I told her we weren't going anywhere on Christmas Day she changed her mind about the dress. I was NOT happy as I'd gone to the store that day and bought the velvet, the zipper and the pattern. ARGH! 

So she asked for VELVET PANTS(!) yesterday. Sigh. Fine. 

I went to the best source I have - Burda. I have the pattern sheet laid out on my cutting table now and will be making this slim pant from the February 2014 issue. 

Fingers crossed :)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Finished: McCall's 7251

Last we "spoke" of sewing plans I was planning a Swoon cardigan and a wrap cardigan using NL6301. Well those were both serger projects, things I'd made before, and both black so those were zip, zip, done. Contemplating what to sew next, faced with a -22 degree F day last Sunday (sew day!) and knowing this past work week would be a busy, I decided on something that would take a bit of time to work through.

I'd wanted this shirt since it was released. I just love the details of view B and had to have it. I bought a nice pumpkin colored cotton twill for it and was ready to go!

And then I decided the shirting was far too crisp and reached wayyyy back to this cotton shirting I got from SR Harris back in April 2013. After playing some pattern/fabric tetris, I decided the facings of the front bands would have to be cut from contrasting fabric. I had some plain black cotton shirting in stash that fit the bill. Also, while the yoke is intended to be single layer, I cut the inside from the black shirting because you should burrito whenever you have the chance! :-p


black facing and yoke


This pattern has some minor issues.
-The tech drawing doesn't even show a yoke. But it does exist!!
-Matter of opinion but I don't think the drawing in the instructions show how dropped the shoulder is. But the tech drawing is accurate there. It's low.
-The instructions for the sleeve placket are WACK and WACKY.

I cut a size 14 and after extensive flat-pattern measurements decided I didn't need any adjustments. I did...I needed to slash and spread for butt room. It's not too bad but (with leggings on especially), the shirt does get caught up on my butt. I left off most of the top stitching as it just wasn't showing up well in this fabric. I only used 3 buttons in front instead of 4. And I left off the roll-tabs for the sleeves.

LOVE the side slits, actually like the tunic length (it looked super long when it was in progress), love the dropped shoulder and neckline fit. The collar stand doesn't have much shaping, giving it a nice, casual/relaxed look. The collar falls open nicely.

Meh on the pockets. They are what attracted me to this pattern but they are awkward. When I put it on they have to be arranged 'just so'. Again I ask my more experienced sewing friends - could the one piece pocket be the issue? You know how often there is a pattern piece for the "yoke" and the pocket and pocket bag are separate? It's all integrated into one piece and while it doesn't exactly sag, it does...something...

I don't think the fabric reads in photos anywhere near how it looks in person. But checked fabric often does that whole optical illusion thing.

Lighting situation in the tundra is horrific! And today it's been raining so no chance for outside photos. 

This was a fun project and if asked I would say YES! Make it! It's casual and cute.

Up Next:
I am finishing up Simplicity 1322 (this was a quick one!) and just some more vacation sewing!!! :-D

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2016

McCall's Early Spring (and a quick note)

I think I have a sewing plan for my break!
  • 2 pair of V9032 (taupe and charcoal). I'm thinking of making one of each view.
  • V9210 dress (plum or this burgundy/white print I picked up at FM recently).
  • 2 versions of M6612 (black/white print and a solid). I just finished a version of this pattern and am seriously loving it.
  • Black knit vest (pattern TBD)
  • B5760 in camel wool
  • Knit top in a leopard print knit (pattern TBD)
It's a lot but if anyone can sew 8 things in 11 days it's me -- and Carolyn! ;-)  This made much easier by only 1 or 2 patterns being new to me.

While we do have some stuff planned, the fact remains, I live with teenagers! :) Which means at least a few hours of sewing time most mornings while I'm off. Plus free time while they're working/hanging with friends. They both plan to work "a ton!" over break. Neither has worked this school year.


It's been awhile since I reviewed a new release, but there's lots to love in this collection for me!

*Early Spring* makes me giggle a little. It was -21 F in Minneapolis yesterday; with the windchill factor, about -32. Today it is 21 and feels downright balmy!

Starting with my must-haves:

7546: I'm not sure I'd try the cold shoulder?? But I love the tunic, the dress, the side slits, the belt, the concealed buttons. LOVE!!!

7547: I love overalls. I won't apologize! :-p I also love the slim pant and the flared pant.

7538: I want this. I want that top today. I am saving scraps of jersey that I have in those colors! I'm going to make this top! I also love views B and D.

7537: I mean, seriously. Swoon. I love them all, especially C and D.

7542: One of those "I probably shouldn't make this but I will". It's boxy, the sleeves will have to be lengthened to past my bust (can't have the volume of the sleeve right there) but I like this as a casual/weekend top.

ETA: This has cup sizing! Woohoo!!

Other CUTE things that I don't think I will buy...unless I see a fabulous version out in the sewing world:

7540: That 2 piece is everything. But would I ever make this? Unlikely.

7534: Again, it just looks a bit basic which isn't bad, I just don't think I need it (hahaha as if that has ever stopped me).

7531: Bodycon Learn-to-Sew dress

7536: Dress with a few neckline versions and a couple skirt versions

7535: I like the tan view D but feel certain I have something like this already.

7548: Lots of bang for the buck here in this casual / activewear pattern. A tank, tee, capri, skirt and cardigan!

7543: The off-the-shoulder trend continues! I made 2 versions of the Style Arc Cara top and wore neither. Maybe this fully elastic version would work better for me. My large bust + narrow shoulder didn't work so well. I do like the little sleeve ties. That is a cute detail.

7549: I LOVE the quilted one. I would never make it though. And I'm not much into boxy little jackets. But it's cute.

There are a few other boho-ish tops included and just two patterns that caused major side-eye:

7541: Uhmm. A cape top?  Seems hard to wear.

7539: That jumpsuit does not look chic. All those patch pockets look unfortunate. The dress looks okay but I will pass. And scuba is a recommended fabric. Go ahead and melt in your scuba-car-mechanic-jumpsuit.
So, what are your picks from this release?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Burda Challenge: 11-2016 #102

My November Burda challenge project is the flounced skirt 11-2016 #102. I went back and forth on what to choose for this month and decided on the skirt 1) because it really is cute and 2) because it's the sewing lesson (they're so much easier to trace!).

I used a size 42 and graded the back to a 44. I chose this pinstripe RPL from the stash for contrast between the serious pinstripe and flirty skirt. Everything went together really well although doing the narrow hem on that flounce took FOR-EVAHHHHHH plus a day. SHEESH. 

((I made the skirt then a Swoon cardigan then the Simplicity top all 3 requiring miles of narrow hems. I don't want to hem another thing.))

The RPL is nice as-is so I opted not to line the upper skirt and drafted a facing from the skirt pattern. I am so proud of myself for doing so! Go me! 


The right side finishes in the same seam as the left. And then something weird happened at the intersection. I'm just going to blame it on my seam allowances maybe not being perfect where everything came together. 

Look at that facing!!

 Oh! Also, it is winter. So it's dark when I leave home and dark when I return. I spent forever taking photos in various parts of my house trying to find any decent lighting. I settled on the basement with the lovely wood paneling as background!

No details to be seen but you can see the overall silhouette of the skirt fit.

Slightly better exposure and lighting here. Ah. 

So while it totally emphasizes my boxiness, I love it! It's just fun to wear. The day I finished it I was wearing tights and it looked really cute with black tights and a cropped sweater.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Finished: Simplicity 8216

Let's just get it out of the way now...this top makes my heart sing!!! And this post is full of photos!

Simplicity 8216 is one of many tie-neck blouses in the stash. You can't go anywhere without seeing tie-necks or cold shoulders and I loves me some tie-necks. I chose this one because I have a serious thing for shoulder gathers. AND this one has a yoke!? SOLD!

I have definitely put on weight this fall and was hoping I had the larger size range but nope. My pattern ended with size 14. Which is still my neckline/shoulder size and I had to not be lazy and actually make the necessary adjustments to make the 14 work for my body.  #SewingGrowth

Fit Adjustments:
  • 1" FBA rotated into the shoulder gathers (I'd never done that before and YAY ME!!!!!!!)
  • Because I needed the room at the waist, I didn't try to eliminate the excess added by the FBA
  • I did a slash and spread adding 5/8" to the back piece (1 1/4" total at the hip)
  • 1" full bicep adjustment

As others mentioned, the top isn't nearly as gathered as the drawing makes it seem. It's very slight -  I did an FBA so I have more gathers.

Other Adjustments: 
  • I essentially sewed view B in a shorter length.
  • I cut double yokes and used the burrito method to attach.
  • After getting the side seams sewn I thought it looked HUGE; but then it fit so nicely through the upper body! I then decided I needed waist definition and so the casing was added.
  • I made bias tape for the casing from the fabric. I tried it on and decided on elastic positioning. It was about 1/2" higher than the pattern marking.
  • I decided against the buttoned bands for the sleeves and choose to mimic the waist and do elastic instead.

The Good:
  • It fits beautifully. 
  • The scooped neckline + tie is just gorgeous. I love that peek of skin.
  • The collar goes together perfectly. Just mind your markings on the neckline, yoke and collar. I was in awe at how well it all went together! 

The Bad:

@*()*#!?*! Arrgghhhhhh!!!

I was SO happy at the collar and came crashing down to earth when it came to finishing.  The back facing is too deep as drafted - it's exactly 5/8" off. This error was confirmed by Simplicity.

Also, it just doesn't seem to sit well when the top is flat. It's all funky and crazy.

wonky facings

But on the body it's fine. I have to arrange it when I put the top on -- Oh and my extra large head *JUST* barely makes it through the neck opening -- but once it's on, the facings are fine and sit inside okay.  And yes, I did make sure that the facing piece matched the fabric piece before interfacing and it's understitched, trimmed and graded.

It's the only negative to the top. So perhaps my more experienced sewing friends can help me figure out if I can do something to make it work better. Because this one will be made again.


I mean, seriously awesome!?! Right?! 


Initially I thought I might shorten the pattern for next time but finished? Love. Love. Love. 


Love the back fit. So much. I just adore it!

I took so many cheesy-faced photos

And then this is my final, dignified face ;-)

I took some equally horrible lighting photos of my November Burda project so review on that to come soon. I have a busy week or so and then my long work break. My daughter wants a simple tent dress (but from velvet) for Christmas. And then I plan my sew-cation projects! woohoo!