Sunday, January 28, 2018

Burda 1/2018 #119

I love this pattern. I was uncertain for a moment because of the hi-low hem and pleated sleeves. Now, I'm not a hi-low hem hater (sorry y'all!)...I think they're fine at times...But I was worried about the bulk of the sleeve especially with this heavyweight knit.

It *is* bulky in this fabric but I don't mind it.

One thing I like about Burda is that, in terms of fit, often what you see is what you get. A baggy, slouchy garment fits as such and when Burda shows you tight-fitting or low-cut, get ready! :)

I went with a straight size 40 (vs grading to a 42) and added 3/8" seam allowances. If you make this and plan to bind the lower edge, you do not need to add any allowances to the hem. Now, one thing I did not realize is that the zipper length given is for the largest size. I had a pale grey zipper but it was 24" and therefore too long. As mentioned on Instagram when I was working on this - *I* cannot shorten metal zippers. I do not possess the hand strength to do so. Luckily, I had this 22" zipper in stash also.

I briefly toyed with the idea of not binding the pockets but I'm glad I did! I think it looks really good! Another suggestion for you -- extend that pocket about an inch or so out. I feel like I can just barely fit my hands in there. I used Wonder Tape to hold the pockets in place while topstitching with the coverstitch. Worked perfectly. I do need to go back and bartack the ends. Also, I'd lengthen the sleeve an inch if I made this again.

I know(!) I had a grey athletic knit in the stash but couldn't find it. I used a white mesh knit for the hood lining and used eyelets for the drawstring opening. I'd already topstitched the channel for the drawstring (used cotton twill tape from SR Harris) not realizing I was supposed to do that last, resulting in a clean finish on the neckline. Oops!

This fabric washed, cut, sewed and pressed like a dream! (This was another Fashion Fabrics Club find.) I did most of the construction on the sewing machine. I serged pattern pieces prior to sewing them together because of the thickness of the fabric.

I know the length of the sleeve looks fine but while wearing it it feels like it needs to be longer!
You can also see a little bust pulling but, casual garment, will probably rarely be zipped, not worth going up a size and having an overall baggy fit.

I was honest-to-goodness sneaking and wearing this because I knewwwwwww! My daughter came home one night and gasped and asked me to make her one PLEASE :) It's easy...I'll do it. She didn't even want the binding, saying that was "too fancy" so she'll have a mustard-colored hoodie coming up soon.

Oh, another important note...this big headed-lady fits the hood just fine! :-)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

5 Year Anniversary!

FIVE YEARS! I simultaneously cannot believe it's been that long and cannot believe it's ONLY been 5 years. I am completely in awe of the craft, still.

My story, why I sew and how I sew:
I've always been a crafty sort! I used to use my allowance to buy fabric (now I believe I was buying FQs or remnants) to make clothes for Barbie dolls. I'd fit them to the doll and then hand sew them in place.

Once my parents moved south, my mom would make a little money on the side sewing hats and head wraps to the women in the area. On a visit ~2010 she asked if I wanted to learn and I was all, NOPE! No thanks! LOL!

In 2011 or so I learned to crochet and that was my intro into the handmade garment world. Many of the crocheters I found also knit and some sewed garments. I pined for a machine after that and in January 2013, I got my wish!

As they say, the rest is history :)

Because it's fun! I still marvel sometimes that I can take a piece of fabric and turn it into an actual, wearable THING!

I also believe everyone needs a hobby of some sort. My hands took me away from crocheting and knitting so I'm glad to have sewing...and to be back into some general crafting since getting my Cricut.

I sew fast. I realized this during the 2014 season of Project Runway. There was a contestant named Kini. Kini sewed fast! Everyone would exclaim and wonder and without fail, he created nice garments (design aesthetics aside), sewn well, and in record time. I decided that like Kini, I just sew fast!

Be clear; I do not rush. (pet peeve: the assumption that saying something is quick/fast equates to not enjoying the process.) I don't even sew everyday! And much to Carolyn's surprise (we were chatting one weekend day), I don't spend huge chunks of time in there at once because I get bored.

What I am though is focused and pretty determined. I've mentioned before that before I cut something out I've got the order of construction decided (which is why Burda stupefies me sometimes!! Some of their instructions you need to follow at the precise moment you're working on that step). I know exactly what I'm going to do and I it. I don't do a lot of dawdling and there's rarely indecision; and when there IS it's kind of maddening because I'm not used to it!

IDK...people ask and I assume they think I do nothing but sew in every spare minute but it's so not true. I do SO MANY other things too! One kind :side eye: soul messaged me on PR to tell me I was probably having marriage problems because I sew so much. I kid you not!!!

Also, I have young-adult children -- older teens such that they've been independent for quite awhile e.g., this mama does not do the laundry of giant people. They've both been doing their own since around 11 plus other actual chores!

And trading in 2600 sq ft for less than 1400 sq ft was LIBERATING! I do not miss having several bathrooms and miles of hardwood floors and a ton of windows and blinds and things to clean. clean. clean. Bleh!!! And the more space you have to fill, the more stuff you find to fill it with!!

Lastly, and I think SUPER importantly, I have a dedicated sewing space. It was such a game changer for me. It is amazing what all you can get done snatching little bits of time here and there!

Now for the fun stuff!!

In honor of my 5th anniversary, I have FIVE prizes to giveaway! Yay!!

Unfortunately, I will have to limit it to US entrants as 4 out of 5 are physical items and international shipping can be a landmine. Not to mention the rules around 'sweepstakes' in differing countries.


  • Please do not share on other social media sites. I try to keep any giveaways I do to blog readers. I know that many readers don't often comment so don't feel badly about that!
  • Leave a comment about either a) your favorite pattern b) your favorite garment type to sew and/or c) your favorite fabric type to sew with. (Mine are a) too many to name!! b) pants!! including jeans and c) ponte!!) :) *comments must be left here on the blog*
  • Choose a specific prize from A - D; all will be entered into the drawing for prize E but there will be one winner per prize. I will use a random number generator to choose winners.
  • Come back on February 1st to see if you won and to claim your prize. I will be mailing everything on February 3rd! There is a 'contact me' option on the home page of my blog and my e-mail is sewcraftychemist --@-- gmail --dot-- com
Prize Pack A:
5 mystery patterns in the lower Big4 size range and 1 bonus all-sizes-included pattern.

Most start at size 6, one starts at size 8 and goes to a 16

Prize Pack B:
5 mystery patterns in the upper Big4 size range and 1 bonus all-sizes-included pattern.

I believe one goes to size 24 and one is L-XXL

These are hand picked and IMO similar styles among the patterns chosen. These are not throwaway patterns! Promise!! And yes, I used my Cricut to make little 'covers' for the bundles :-p

Prize Pack C:
5 (x2!) zippers in varying colors and lengths. Again, picked from the extensive zipper stash!

Prize Pack D:
5 awesome sewing bits and bobs!
  • 3 piece set of tailor's chalk
  • Vintage sew on snaps
  • Wonder Tape (you know I love this stuff)
  • Package of pins
  • Made for you pin-tray (well at least it's what I use mine for! I keep it on the bed of my sewing machine. I used my Cricut to create the vinyl transfer!)

My pin tray:

I got this in a grab bag from Michael's some time ago and have been using it for pins ever since! 
I love that it's now sewing related even though it's a teapot :)

Prize E:
$20 gift card to Fabric Mart Fabrics (I will order the gift card when the winner is confirmed and provides an e-mail address for the e-card).

You have 5 (ish) days to enter! Through midnight on January 30th. Apparently Blogger is on Pacific time so keep that in mind!  Winners will be announced on February 1st.

Happy Sewing!

Entries are closed now! Thank you for sharing with me!! 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Burda 6659 and Butterick 6427; Loungewear post 2 of 2

I had B6427 in the stash and planned to compare it to the Dixie DIY Summer Concert Tee. I was unsure about this type of tee on my frame and never proceeded.

Well, I love it!

I used a size medium with a small for the neckline (it's SO low and wide!) and this black cotton-lycra jersey knit from Fabric Mart. It was a Sue's Pick I believe, by Maggy London, and I bought 6 yards! After sewing this top I realized I wouldn't like it as much for actual garments. It's thick and attracts lint like some crazy, deranged lint magnet! But for loungewear, it's fine. I plant to make another S8424 legging from this fabric.

I decided to make this my first Cricut HTV (heat transfer vinyl) project!!! I have a couple of official Cricut posts coming soon (early February and early March). I plan to do a tutorial on making heat transfers for tees so watch for that in a few weeks!

One of my favorite phrases is being 'unable to adult' :) If you're familiar with the show 'black-ish', the oldest kid from the show is now off to college and has a spin off called 'grown-ish'; my tee is an ode!

This, not surprisingly, was constructed entirely on the serger and coverstitch. Easy. Peasy.

I like the hi-low hem and the side slits. The sleeve bands are a bit snug for my forearms; I'd increase them a bit (probably to the equivalent of a large).

The neck binding on S8424 was perfect, this one was a little too long and I have a wavy neckline in front (and yes, I used the right size!!). Luckily, it's loungewear. My next iteration will be out of fabric that's more lightweight so I will likely need to size that down a bit.

The joggers! I had these in stash for DD and the 3/2014 issue of the magazine has a very similar pattern. I decided cutting this out as the lazier option over tracing from the mag :)

I used a size 44 on the blue pair and cut down to a 42 for the star pair. I shortened the front rise 3/4" and lengthened the back 1". While I love when there are multiple rows of elastic in patterns like this, I hate doing the work!

I decided on eyelets (because I am the eyelet queen now!) instead of buttonholes. I interfaced the area but must've cut it open too much. I've since found that with knits I just need to take the awl firmly through it and immediately place the eyelet; I don't need to cut them open. When they were finished and I went to try them on, I pulled the twill tape and ripped the eyelet right out on one side! I did a hack job replacing it AND they aren't even. DOH!

On the star pair, I felt the thicker french terry would be REALLY be a joy (/sarcasm) to thread two rows of elastic through and decided on a ponte waistband in black. I also narrowed the ankle just a tad, cut the leg band down to a size 40, and attached it with a 3/8" seam instead of 5/8". I love them!!!!


I don't need more joggers right now but once I wear these out I'd definitely use this pattern again.

Fabric for both pair of joggers came from Fashion Fabrics club. The blue is a lightweight french terry (beautiful! drape) and the star fabric is heavier. This kind of fabric was my first experience with french terry and made me say I hate this fabric. I'd made M6884 and absolutely hated that loopy wrong side. I don't mind it as much in joggers but probably wouldn't look for this heavier terry again. The lightweight version? LOVELY!!!

I've ordered from Fashion Fabrics Club off and on. The biggest deterrent, aside from their outdated website, is I hate that I can't use PayPal. It isn't even a security concern just that I hate having to actually pull out my card. LOL!!! So sad.

In this order I'd gotten both of these French terry fabrics, double knit for my hoodie (coming soon!), the denim knit used in the s8424 top, 3 T-shirt knits (white, ivory and cream), a black t-shirt knit and an apricot colored lightweight French terry. I did not receive the last two items.

I received a notice with my order that the apricot fabric had sold out. I asked about notification of sold out items and was told I have to ask to be notified at checkout. Sigh. Whatever. Okay, give me a refund. I did not receive the black t-shirt knit. I notified them on 12/20, had to ask again on 12/22, and it was 1/2 before I realized I never received the refund on the black knit. I was NOT HAPPY and they were going to be off the list. (I went 3+ years without ordering from because of screw ups). HOWEVER, all of the fabrics I received were pretty much amazing. And their pricing was so good, that I will give them another shot.

I have worn these items NON STOP! :)

I've said a million times before that "my colors" are blue, black and grey. Uhmm...yep! LOL!

Simplicity 8424 leggings and tee reviewed here

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Simplicity 8424; Loungewear post 1 of 2

When this pattern came out I wanted every single piece. EVERY PIECE! I wanted to make this for a fall loungewear wardrobe but then I sprained my hand (which, 6 months later, isn't fully healed but is better).

I started with the leggings with the ties, in this grey cotton knit from Fashion Fabrics Club. This is the only pic with the ties because I promptly removed them. Actually, I pulled them really tight and snipped them right off on the outside. Can't even tell!

They were ridiculous to put on each time and they are too wide which makes them too thick. Plus, I have thick calves and they were too short to wrap as instructed but too long to skip a go-round. Meh. I wouldn't add them again. The tie waist felt too bulky as well. I left that one and may use it again, but under normal length tees it's too bulky.

Review on the top to come! :)

 The leggings pattern itself is decent. Like most Big4, it seems to not get the fact that they should taper from thigh to knee and back out at the calf! LOL! But a little fitting solved that. After fitting the first pair on the serger, I shaped the legs of the pattern pieces.

I used a size Large (18-20) with is typical sizing for me with Big4. I usually cut my woven pants in a size 18, so I found that consistent.

The waistband is finished by zig-zagging elastic on the inside waistband, and then attaching the waistband as a unit. This is my favorite way to finish casual/athletic wear pull-on pants.

The tank is really short and I got lazy about lengthening the pattern pieces and just skipped it. Plus it's hard to consider sewing a tank in the dead of MN winter. The wrap top was reviewed by a blogger and she gave the top an "okay".  That prompted a closer look at the pattern and I decided to pass on the wrap top.

The hi-low top is really cute and made better by this SUPER COZY heavy jersey knit fabric. It has a "denim look" and I honestly was convinced that the light side was the right side...and then when I went to put a pattern piece on my dress form, I wasn't so sure anymore. So I decided it didn't matter! #asewersperogative. I added interest by using the other side for the neck binding, a visible CF seam (so the dark side shows)  and displaying the looper thread on the hems.

I really love this top! I used a size medium neckline, shoulder (which is also the upper sleeve) and a L for the rest.

Review on the joggers to come!

I've been taking photos randomly since they were finished but's everything! LOL!

Tomorrow I will post my review of Burda 6659 and Butterick 6427!

He's such a baby :-p

Burda 6659 and Butterick 6427 reviewed here

Friday, January 19, 2018

New Look 6530: 6+ Weeks in the Making!

I started writing this post while I was midway through construction on DECEMBER 6TH! It's reading a litttttle differently than back then! LOL!

I was drawn to this pattern immediately! I wanted the view in the forefront and was patiently waiting on the right fabric.

The fabric is Telio Jockey Ponte from Fabric dot com in navy. This fabric is wonderful. It's a rayon/nylon/spandex blend, it has 20% stretch in both directions, it's thick and soft and washed up well. I bought 2 yards, got a TEENY bit over that, and lost a bit (sorry, didn't measure exactly!) in the laundering process. So unless you're a risk taker ;-) prewash this fabric! I feel like the color selection is a little limited. I wish there were more options! 

I hemmed and hawed over the contrast. I had several decent chunks of ponte remnants but only 2 (solids) that I believed were thick enough to pair with this fabric. The cream I used for my daughter's sweatshirt and this. The navy and cream was a little too nautical for me. I love them together but feel weird about wearing navy and white (or cream...) in winter. 

Because I generally suck at colorblocking, I either  copy someone else's combination or google ideas I'm considering. The following pics made me think this may look pretty sophisticated!

I was unsure for a moment but I'm glad I went with it. I think it works! The *color* combo was really pretty. The ponte was far too lightweight to pair with this navy fabric. Then I bought 1/2 yard of coral ponte. I decided to use tricot interfacing to beef it up a little. I'd accidentally interfaced the facing not the fashion fabric side. It was again tough to get a nice smooth band. It sat for weeks. I decided to just finish the skirt and let the top go.

BUT I LIKED THE (*idea* of the) TOP SO MUCH!

In the mean time, I'd made the Burda 1/2018 hoodie. That double knit is very thick like this ponte. Ding. Ding. Ding!

I was over trying to make the curved band work though. I cut the pattern piece straight across, even with the shorter side. The pattern sleeve bands are about 8" before attaching/hemming. I cut an 8" wide band for the top. I laid it out and went to bed.

The next day I came into the sewing room to iron and had that little sharp intake of breath at the combo laid out on the cutting table. YAY!!!!!! This is going to work after all!

I sewed it, hemmed it, tried it on. DEJECTION!  I said, okay, this top is DONE. Luckily, I realized it was just an issue of proportion. I folded the band in half and ah-ha! Much, MUCH better!

So the NEXT day, I cut off 3.5" and hemmed it at 1". WOOOOHOOO!!!!!!! "Now we're cooking with grease", as Papa would say! Whew. Like with the dress, when I go to these lengths to make it work, it's clear it was something I was really loving aside from the issues. So I'm excited that I was able to save it.

The pattern has finished measurements and I did some flat pattern measuring. I used a size 14 neckline and shoulder and graded to a 16. I needed a small FBA, 1" total:

I also did a 1" full bicep adjustment. On the skirt, I used a size 16 front and size 18 back. I didn't make any other adjustments to the skirt but could have added a small wedge to the back for my butt.

***I have found my new TNT knit skirt. This skirt has darts in back. It. Has. Darts!!!! So no pooch of fabric above the butt! Not to mention it's actually my size. I only have M6654 in a size 14 and always have to do some fabric-dependent tweaks to make that work.

I am also ever so grateful to New Look for drafting this with 3/8" seam allowance on the collar and neckline, and the bottom band (the pattern pieces are clearly marked too!). THANK YOU!!! 5/8" seam allowances are, at times, a waste of fabric and harder to sew (e.g. curved seams). 

I primarily constructed this on the sewing machine because the fabric is so thick. I wanted to ensure I had nice, crisp seams. I sewed the shoulder seams, attached the collar and skirt waistband directly on the serger, everything else by machine. Usually, with heavier weight ponte knits, I treat them more like wovens. So I also set the sleeves vs sewing them flat.

 I don't love the 2 together but separately they are both in the 9/10 camp. So I am pleased!

The grey band is *slightly* too small for the top

 When I finished the skirt I immediately thought how well it would pair with my J.Crew gingham Moto jacket! C'mon spring!

I have been awful about replying to comments. SO much going on.  I'll be traveling and have 3 posts scheduled over the next week. I'll be scanning for questions to answer those but likely won't be able to reply to all...though each and every comment is read and appreciated!!

Until later!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

FINALLY!! Burda 6853

I have a new *sleeveless* dress.


You know I must really have liked it otherwise to keep toiling away, right? I would have normally moved on by now.

I removed the sleeves (which had been trimmed/serged!!) and cut a new sleeve, adding 1 1/4" to the bicep. I basted the sleeve itself and it felt fine on my arm. I sewed it with a 1/2" seam allowance and sewed it to the dress.

Fit fine. I could not bend my arms. Decide to cut it off above the elbow. Better, but still not enough range of motion. Considered a cap sleeve; remembered I hate cap sleeves. Got out some bias tape because this was about to head to the nope. no more. pile!!

 Fit my swayback perfectly!

This is a Burda Young pattern and only goes up to a size 42. I cut a 40 neckline and shoulder and 42 for the rest. I did a slash and spread on the side back and lower panel, adding 3/4". I basted and boy was it snug when I tried it on! I ended up cutting gussets that were 1 1/4" finished and that was too much. I cut new gussets(!) that were 3/4" finished - so adding 1 1/2" total. Perfect.

I knew it would be on the short side but that was fine as I also knew it would be paired with tights for the foreseeable future (I can go tight-less in April. I'm kidding. May!). The solid fabric is the same suiting as the blazer, pants and skirt. The print was picked up on a Christmas shopping trip to SR Harris. I bought it to make another B5760 skirt but decided it'd be perfect as the accent fabric for this one.

The contrast on the pattern are actually overlays as it's intended for lace. I cut full pieces and assembled the front, marked the overlay and added 3/8" seam allowance. I then cut away the solid fabric. The back did not have an overlay piece so I created one in the same manner as the front.

I used an invisible zipper and poly pongee as lining. Ah, back to the length...I liked the 'out-of-envelope' length. So it is REALLY short. I used hem tape to maintain as much length as possible. Because I am sewing from stash right now, I went with what I had on hand :) The pattern calls for binding sewn flat over the seams and some type of similar finish on the neckline. Meh. I didn't pay attention to any of that. I used piping at the neckline because I love piping and the bonus was not having to draft facings! (although it's super simple)

Piping | Hem tape | Gusset

This is basically my outfit post for tomorrow because this is exactly how I'll be wearing it! :) With either my black Swoon cardigan or McCall's 6844 as a topper.

SO glad it's done and in my closet, even if I'm a tiny bit sad it had to be sleeveless!

I have all of my loungewear goodies photographed! I will write a couple of posts and schedule them over the next week. I haven't had a lot of free time and will be traveling this week so even less.