Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Wrap-Up

IT'S JUNE!!! Time, it flies.

This month it felt like I sewed a ton of stuff.
  • Nettie bodysuit in a teal jacquard knit
  • Vogue 1501 skirt in a printed poly woven
  • McCalls 7542 top in a floral cotton (likely lawn)
  • Simplicity 1280 top in a navy and white printed poly crepe
  • Vogue 1392 dress in navy textured double knit and taupe ponte
Favorite: I have to say the Vogue skirt! I am practically jumping for joy at a yellow one.

FAILS: No project fails this month - yay! But I swear I thought I traced the scoop on the Nettie. I briefly considered removing the neckbinding and 'fixing' it but...HA! Plus there was the serging through both the Vogue skirt and McCalls top.

Accomplishments: I can't say that I stretched myself on anything this month, but I guess I'll give myself some props on growing a little bit. I'm a technical person. Process-oriented things come easily. So that side of sewing is my jam. The creative side? ehhhhh. Part of the reason for this: my inability to look past what's presented. Adding/changing/modifying details requires a sort of brain path that I don't naturally possess. So whenever I do ANYTHING outside of what's presented on the pattern envelope I'm pretty stoked. With all that said, it totally isn't a stretch for most people to say, oh I like this dress, let me remove the bodice and ta-da! skirt! But I thought it was pretty genius on my part. LMAO!

Fabric: I have two fabric orders enroute from this month. I bought two cuts from FabricMart for more Nettie bodysuits; a gray cotton-lycra print and an off-white lightweight ponte. And as mentioned before, from Fashion Fabrics Club, a bright yellow poly crepe for another V1501 and a printed cotton sateen for the Burda dress.

June Plans:

Here I talked a bit about upcoming sewing plans. I've sewn 2 of the 4 tops mentioned and the last 2 are from the same pattern AND I've made them before. So hopefully no snags there. I almost bought 2 tops today from JC Penney and as I stood there knowing I'd need a large for my bust but that the armholes would gape (they were sleeveless), I put them back. But I want more bright! colorful! lightweight! tops for summer. Onward!

V1392 is ready for it's facing (it's intended to be lined but I'm just going to do an all-in-one facing). I love the pleats

but am otherwise a bit meh on it. I added length because so many people added length. I am going to be removing all 1.5" that I added, plus a touch more. Maybe I'll like it better at a shorter length.

I've also decided I want to make this dress from Burda 6/2017

Yes, yes I should make more things with sleeves, especially since I had to turn my heat back on yesterday. Sigh. But actual summer has to show it's face eventually.

So some combination of:
M6519 x2
Nettie x2
Burda 2/2013
Burda 6/2017
V1501 skirt
B5760 skirt

I can't do things for the month of June because my kids are *so.expensive!!* and I need to just sit in my house and stare at the walls...or sew. Sewing it is!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Top-a-Palooza! McCall's 7542 and Simplicity 1280

McCall's 7542

Me admiring my sleeves <3

Pattern Description:

Semi-fitted tops have sleeve variations. Includes separate pattern pieces for A/B, C, and D cups.

Pattern Sizing:

6-14 and 14-22. Gotta love a pattern with cup sizing! I used a 14-C cup

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?


Were the instructions easy to follow?

For the overall top, yes, and for my sleeve view.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Like allll the versions floating around, I love the options. I like little boxy tops sometimes and the sleeves sold me on this one. I really love the fit, even the cropped length. Though that makes this not a work top. I'll have to add another 1.5" or so. I don't like the longer length, I feel it's too long for the shape of the top.

Me, demonstrating the non-work appropriateness

I did not like how long it took me to do those pleats. GRRRRR!!!! So long. So. So. Long. Mark, press, baste. I baste by hand most of the time. I prefer the control.

Every time I sat the sleeve down, it did this

Which I found hilarious. LOL! 


I had the sleeves ready to set and went to serge the seam between sleeve and pleat. And this happened:

I serged right through the sleeve. Twice in what, 2 weeks? I think I've done this twice in EVER before now. WAH! I was ready to call this whole project a loss because I was thinking I would have to redo the pleats. Well no, I just had to cut a new sleeve. And after trying the top on with one sleeve, I knew I had to finish it.

But I didn't have enough fabric. I tried every which way and couldn't make that sleeve fit so I sacrificed my Style Arc Cara. I've only worn it once and donated the other one -- my shoulders are just too narrow and my posture too poor for this style I think.

But YAY! I saved my top!

Fabric Used:

Cotton (lawn?) from Fabric Mart.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Cup sizing so no FBA! 5/8" swayback adjustment, 3/4" bicep adjustment (not enough), turned up 5/8" and hemmed. I also used a loop and button for the closure.

That tag! :-D

Speaking of closure...I totally ignored the marking on the pattern for the slit and ended up eyeballing it while sewing the back seam. My giant head *just barely* fits through the opening!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others

Definitely!! I love all the views but would try the bubble sleeve next.

I LOVE the fit and the fabric (and these have become my my most favorite sandals ever)!

I need another 1/2" or so in the sleeve. It isn't restrictive but it's juuuuust barely enough ease.

So cute and almost dainty :-D

Simplicity 1280

Pattern Description:

Misses' top pattern includes loose fitting top with short sleeves, or faux wrap top with long sleeves and elastic waist. 

Pattern Sizing:

XS - XL. I sewed a medium

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?


Were the instructions easy to follow?

It's a very simple top and is intuitive to put together, butt the instructions are fine.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

It's a cute top and is current in RTW as well. I love the neckline.

Fabric Used:

Poly woven from Fabric Mart. If you have this (was one of the pre-cut fabrics), it wrinkles so easily!! But it takes a press okay.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I'd made this when it first came out and the sleeves were so tight! I did a bicep adjustment but chalked it up to the french seams I used on that version. I made it again for my mom recently and they were still so tight! So I added another inch. Sheesh. Sewed the side seams at 3/8".

I lost the neck binding piece and just made bias tape with my Clover bias tape maker. It works just fine!

I also used 1/2" elastic instead of 1/4",

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes and yes. Well I'm not sure how many of these I need but it's a cute top on me so you never know! Plus I want to make view E at some point.

The extra sleeve width was perfect! And that neckline fits me so well!!

The blue and white print works really well with lots of close items!

These red pants from LOFT are so fantastic! 

When I put these on to photograph with the top, I totally went back and ordered them in black and navy. They fit me perfectly! It's their Julie fit and the essential skinny ankle pant FYI.

I chose to spend the holiday weekend as a homebody. Cleaning, organizing and sewing. <3 Current WIP: V1329

 I've also got the back assembled...I'll insert the zipper and check for fit. I almost always baste side seams and lots of reviews mentioned lots of extra fabric in the upper back, so I may need to tweak there.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Miscellany aka Sewing Plans

June is the Sewing with Lace contest and I am thinking of finally using my navy blue cotton lace to make a skirt. What pattern? Oh, what else but B5760 (now OOP - boooo!). I was doing some closet change over and pulled them all together:
All of these have been such fantastic additions to my wardrobe and I can't wait to sew the lace one! I have no hope of winning; it's a straight skirt...but sometimes it's nice to get that little push of a contest to get something done.
Speaking of skirts...I am head over heels in love with that V1501 as a skirt (as if you couldn't tell). While cleaning and arranging stuff to donate, I came across this really bright yellow pleated skirt that I'd bought a long time ago. It was a size 10 which totally should have fit at the time but didn't. I could never quite fit it and didn't return it because I would "totally get into it eventually!!". Well, that was probably 15-20 pounds ago! :-p It was time to let it go. But I never stopped believing I needed a bright yellow skirt because it was gorgeous.
Then I landed a really amazing ponte and made a skirt from M6654...
But then it got ruined in the wash :/
So I finished that V1501 and thought, wouldn't it be AMAZING in bright yellow?! Yes, right??
(nod your head yes
So this crepe is on it's way to me!
And May's Dress-a-Palooza did not get started but Top-a-Palooza somehow took it's place.

It all started the other day, when I pulled out this top, which was sewn in 2013, 3 months into my sewing journey! I told myself to stop fighting my inclination towards b/w prints and blue - those are my colors! 
Do you SEE that look of smug satisfaction!? hahaha!
It's such a nice cut on me and rayon challis makes it perfect for warmer temps. The black and white challis on the end and the colorful sandwashed rayon will become M6519 tops.
Then I couldn't stop thinking about the S1280 that I made for mom, so I pulled that out.
And I know that by now, you've seen ALL the versions of M7542 and I want mine! And lo and behold...I had already cut the pattern out and made all the adjustments to it! YAY! It is currently awaiting sleeves and a hem!
Dress-a-Palooza is still on and remember, it is a long term project ;-) If you look back at the photo of the 3 top patterns, you'll see V1329 peeking out.
That will be happening along with Burda 2/2013, in this cotton sateen.
A very good friend passes Vogue fabrics daily on her commute and got me a few yards of 2" Petersham. I feel the silhouette of the dress is otherwise a bit formal for my casual workplace (which I do NOT dress casually for because I don't dress casually for work...). I felt a fun color or print would remedy that.
I feel like this would make an AMAZING wedding guest dress but alas..
no weddings to attend this year for me.
And, OHEMGEE! I bought 8 (10?) yards of lining fabric at one point. I lost them. I found them when I moved last year. I lost them again!
I was searching for a lamp shade (RANDOM) and I FOUND THEM AGAIN! Score!!!! This time, I put them with the lining fabrics! (sheesh...)
I was going to review the new Sew Sew Def Magazine today but this post stretched on (Have you met me? Not yet? I blog like I speak. Hahahaha!) so I'll do that separately! 

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!