Sunday, May 31, 2020

May Wrap-Up and June Plans

As you all know, the country and especially my city, is currently in upheaval. This is hard work but it is necessary work. America has a nasty history with many minority groups but the treatment of blacks in America has been unparalleled. We are fighting for freedom. We are fighting for justice. We are fighting for our very humanity. We are people. We are mothers and fathers, daughters and son. We are friends and coworkers. We are aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews. We are worthy. And our nation's citizens, law enforcement, lawmakers, etc. just can't seem to find it in themselves to see as such. Well now, we will make them see. 

Do NOT comment on my blog with some blah, blah, I thought this was a sewing blog. In case you haven't noticed, I am black. You do not get to ignore that fact because it is one of the single most defining parts of my physical identity. It's certainly why I had a cop waiting for backup with his weapon drawn on me when I was 16 because I had a headlight out. It's certainly why I was face down on the asphalt with multiple officers, weapons drawn, when I was 19. It's why my son had been stopped by police, frisked, car searched, more than half a dozen times by the time he was 17. (Driver's licenses aren't issued until 16) 

So take solace in sewing if you must - I do. But do not bring your privilege here. If you can ignore all that's going on around you it's because you have the privilege to do so. 


This month, I got off track pretty quickly. I got fixated on this Mother's Day gift plan and spent a ton of time at the start of the month making gifts for family and friends. 

(I am an affiliate for Cricut but there are no links in this post. There are banners on my blog)

I bought a 12-pack of socks and used the Cricut to cut HTV to add some flair! :)
there's 3 of each design

Then, I used Cricut rose-gold faux leather to make keyrings. Each one has a word + mama on back. 
I got the swivel hooks from an Etsy shop. 

Then I used the Cricut Joy insert cards to make cards for everyone. 

It was fun! It was exhausting! LOL!! The gifts were super cost efficient but then there was the shipping. OY! :)  But they were well-received. Success!

Then I made a couple pairs of shorts for my daughter:

I was participating in Me Made May the life happened. My husband's grandfathered died earlier this month due to Covid-19. Last month, I lost my uncle. We traveled to Chicago to take care of things and ended up babysitting for cousins - 2 kids under 4 and welcoming their 3rd! So that was a bright spot. 

Then I got on a top binge because I really do need to replace almost all of my tops and dresses. 

So...this month I sewed 16.25 yards
  • New Look 6530 skirt - 1 yard
    • ivory ponte
    • elastic
  • Burda 6938 x2 shorts for my daughter - 1.5 yds
    • floral lightweight denim
    • blue midweight knit
  • True Bias Ogden cami - 1.5 yds
    • striped cotton poplin
  • Kommatia Relaxed Tee - 1 yd
    • print cotton knit
  • McCall's 6764 tee hack - 1.5 yds 
    • navy cotton jersey
    • elastic
  • Ottobre 2/2018 top - 1.25 yds
    • coral striped jersey
  • Burda Mag 4/2019 dress - 2.5 yds (estimation)
    • plaid cotton voile
    • buttons
  • McCall's 6886 dress - 1.25 yds (WADDER)
    • cotton rib knit
  • Butterick 6330 dress - 2.5 yds
    • black & white print jersey
    • elastic
  • Butterick 6621 dress - 2.25 yds
    • black & white stripe jersey
  • Jalie Clara x2 for my daughter - not counted in yardage as it was a muslin from my random pile 'o knits
I bought 4 cuts of fabric (6 yards) from Girl Charlee - NEVER AGAIN. More on this later when I review the tops I made. And I bought a cut of fabric from SR Harris. 

I think my Butterick dress covers by my favorite and accomplishment this month. It is exactly what I wanted. 

FAIL would be the M6886. I've made this pattern a ton of times and this is the first post-reduction. I forgot to undo my FBA + cotton rib with no recovery = YUCK. But the idea was cute so I'll toss that wadder in with another review post.


I am more hyped than ever to honor Linda Faye this month with this sewing challenge. Full announcement here

As mentioned there, there are no rules aside from sew a top or tops between June 1 and June 15! I will do roundup posts here on the blog. You can ensure I see your top by either using the hashtag: #FAYESTOPSTHATPOP or emailing me at sewcraftychemist (gmail) with photos. 

There is no requirement but since I need new tops anyway, and I am always complaining about lack of cute summer wear, I am going to go straight for cute summer tops. And I also decided that I am going to make things that I "couldn't" wear pre-reduction or wouldn't have wanted to make the FBA. 
So far, here are my plans:

Vogue 1507 has been on the list and I have it slated for this HOT pink cotton shirting. I'd love to use the woven below that I picked up from SR Harris but I'm not sure how much the wrong side being mostly white matters for those open, swingy sleeves or for the bow in back. So I have to think about it.

I love Simplicity 8385 and have a knit version of view C in RTW. I'm going to use this nice, weighty rayon challis in a peachy tan/black/white print. 

I plan to use the chartreuse silk on the True Bias Calvin top. The Ogden works so well for me that I'm hoping to have similar luck with the Calvin. 

The Pensee on the other hand...well I like it and will need to muslin it. So we'll see if I get around to it. The only other Deer & Doe pattern I've sewn is the Sirocco and I had to make SO many adjustments to make that bodice work so I'm not sure. And, that was knit, this is woven, and it was pre-reduction so I can't exactly transfer those adjustments over to this pattern. So we shall see. 

As always, more later. Stay safe physically but it's long past due for us to challenge ourselves in other ways. Injustice is a threat to us all. <3

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Burda 4/2019 (again!?)

First things first, in just a few days we'll kick off our #FayesTopsThatPop sewing challenge!

Currently, In-House Patterns is offering 20% off of all patterns through the end of the month. The discount will automatically be added to your cart at checkout. 

I am a huge fan of InHouse. I own the entire catalog except for the Diana blouse! Alexandra is a professional pattern drafter and offers patterns in sizes 0-16 and cup sizes A-D. 

Click HERE to shop patterns

Also, Sew House 7 is offering a 20% discount for all tops, including dresses with top options. The discount code is FAYE.  This sale is through midnight on June 1st. Sew House 7 has an extensive size chart. The standard line is intended for a B/C cup and includes size 00 (bust size 31") to 20 (bust size 47"). The curve line has cup options for C/D, E/F and G/H depending on style. It includes sizes 18 (bust size 45.5") to 34 (bust size 61.5").

Click HERE to shop patterns

I have yet to sew a SH7 pattern but I do own a few! The Burnside Bibs WILL happen for me this summer!! :) And I am going to snag the super cute Underwood today! 


I have to say that April 2019 was probably my favorite issue for all of 2019. This dress is item number 5 for me from that issue!

I saw a dress somewhere that had a ruffle across the back only with a "normal" front with mixed prints. I could not find that image again. Often, when I'm browsing the internet I will screenshot things that interest me so I can find them again. I especially like this method because on my phone and my computer, screenshots save to a specific place so I don't need to endless scroll files/photos to find them. I must not have taken a screenshot this time. Wah. 

At any rate, I liked this top initially but not the tunic length. I'm just not a huge fan of tunics! Burda lists the finished back length as 30" so I thought adding 6" would be appropriate.  I marked 6" from the edge of the back along the (curved) hemline and then added 3/8" seam allowance because I knew I'd be doing a narrow rolled hem. 

On the front, I added 3/8" to the front hem and cut a rectangle of fabric out that was 1.5x the width of the front (I wanted a really soft gather) plus 5/8" seam allowance on each end. I added 3/8" seam allowance to the top and 3/8" seam allowance on bottom. 

I used my serger to gather the fabric after practicing on a scrap. More on this later! I actually learned this technique and used it to make a Ogden hack. I recorded a video and will share later! It is on my IG grid if you're interested and can't wait :)

I cut a size 40 neckline, 42 through the armhole and for the front, and a 44 back. I ended up taking the back side seams back down to a 42. 

I did a 5/8" foward shoulder adjustment which may have been a hair too much. I have folds which I think are ALSO due to just having more sloped shoulders than Burda drafts for. In a casual dress like this, I'm not bothered by it. The neckline and upper back feel AMAZING though! So glad I had the lightbulb moment over forward shoulders!!

Look at that upper back fit!! :-D

I was deliberate with my stripe choices but didn't worry (at all!) about trying to do anything at the side seams. The back has the prominent red stripe down the center and you can see the horizontal plane of the stripes match. I chose a piece for the yoke with no narrow stripes and cut the collar to feature the narrow stripes.  I used a solid navy poplin on the inner yoke and collarband facing.
the back crossover makes a giant pleat on the inside!

The fabric is a cotton voile so it is as light as feather! <3  I bought this in October 2017 from Fabric Mart and knew I was saving it for something bold. Well, this dress fits!! 

Everyone is entitled to dress in a way that makes them comfortable. But please, don't put your requirements on me! I got a lot(!) of inbox comments on IG about this being (dirtyword) flattering. I just don't dress to de-emphasize my body. I always say...I am 5'5" and weigh 190lbs. I ain't gonna "look skinny" so I ain't gonna try to "look skinny"! It's loose and voluminous and comfortable and cute and I adore it. So that's that!

I briefly considered a ruffle to the armhole but then decided to stick with my original plan and keep it sleeveless. I think this will keep it more versatile and allow me to wear it through early fall with a jacket. I fit the armhole pretty closely but I'll have to see if I can layer a close-fitting tee underneath. 

It was cute and I thought it balanced the lower ruffle well.

Making bias binding from lightweight cotton is such a joyous experience! It came out beautifully!! Also worth nothing that I only added 3/8" seam allowance to the armhole in expectation of using binding. So much easier to apply with a smaller seam allowance. 

Lastly, I used these large-ish buttons I had in stash. I wanted everything about it to be standout!

EVERY moment of sewing this dress was just SO fun. And I can't wait to wear it! 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Style Arc Clare Pant Muslin

This wasn't intentionally a some point I decided maybe it'd be a wearable muslin...but nah. And I'm not 100% sure I'd remake the pattern. Mayyyyyybe.

I like Style Arc's design and drafting. They are on my $hit-list for their crap instructions now. I'm not sure I'll be in a hurry to buy more patterns from them and certainly nothing too complex. 

1. - The illustration shows a pleat that's just folded out and basted but the instructions say to stitch the pleat.

2. - The way the front is constructed is really bulky and this fabric was *just* barely opaque and had a lot of drape. If I decide to sew this pattern again, I may eliminate the pockets. I could reduce the height so they are caught in the foldover band but not also folded over. However, they are VERY narrow - deep but narrow so I'm not sure how useful they'd be. 

3. - Why would you stitch through the elastic?? If I decided to sew it again, I'd just make a casing and keep the gathering to the side front and back.  Oh, and my pattern says to use elastic that is 1 1/5" :sideeye: I don't know if they intended 1 1/4" or 1 1/2" but the fold-down waistband is just under 2" so I went with 1.5" elastic. 

I've been going back on forth on sloper drafting. I am lazy and not super interested in drafting, but I NEED a sloper for my upper body and of course it would be super helpful for the lower. 

Oh, this fabric? atrocious. That's what moved it from garment to wearable muslin. It's a poly suiting from Fabric Mart. I'm not anti-polyester entirely but this stuff just SHRED the moment I cut it. 

Anyway, I then decided to go for it by matching the crotch curve of the pattern to my "fishbowl" exactly. (I talked about that here).  So I matched the curve of my body to the stitch line of the back pant piece.

(poorly) annotated below so you can see the changes

I lined up my crotch point with the patterns and I would have needed to go SO deep into the pattern and knowing I need more crotch extension and room through the inner thigh, I split the difference and extended the crotch point 1" and scooped/reshaped the crotch curve. As you can see, this takes away a lot of width so I've added back at the side seam. 

BUT otherwise... IT WORKED!!!!!! Woohoo! 

My addition at the side seam isn't quite right. It's too curvy too soon -- which is obvious now! On my body, the side seam pulls just a bit at the fullest part of my butt (look at the wavy butt lines!). and there's excess fabric up top. 
I hadn't pressed my seams because - full muslin at this point

The difference between left and right here is that I have the front rolled over the full width of the elastic. I need to shorten the front rise considerably if I make them again! :-p This is totally my natural stance, unfortunately! LOL!! But the good thing weird fabric collapsing at the back thigh.

I cut out the back pattern piece even though it looked "weird". Remember all that L vs J crotch curve stuff from back in the day?

Well...all that and I went right and cut the front out! Without adjusting it to my fishbowl. DOH!. So the front is way, way too long. 
Red - my body vs. black - the pattern crotch curve

What I hadn't noticed is how similar this pattern was to Burda 2/2017. I swear pretty much everything exists as a Burda!!! 

Oh well...I got the pattern during a sale and paid about $6 so...maybe I should give them another go since I know what to do. And maybe this time I'll use linen ;-)

Don't forget we're going to be starting our Tops That Pop! challenge as of June 1. See this post for more information! Also, I realized after the fact that I labeled it a summer challenge - really, it's a challenge to make new tops so friends down under, please feel free to sew along and make some new tops for the upcoming winter months!

Currently, there is a Style Arc sale of 20% off (yes, I know, I don't take back my ragging on their instructions but the patterns tend to work out!). Mimi G has pdf patterns on sale for $3. Style Sew Me has select patterns available for $5. I am also in contact with some other Indie pattern brands to see if they're willing to sponsor the challenge and offer discounts on top patterns. More soon! 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

2020 Summer Sew Along

If you were an active sewing blogger over the past few years, you just HAD to be acquainted with Linda of Faye's Sewing Adventure.

‘Faye’ was one of the sweetest, most supportive sewing bloggers around and unfortunately, she passed away last spring.

A few years ago, Faye started a spring sew-a-long to make new tops for your wardrobe! She called the challenge "Tops that Pop" and it was always fun to sew along and see everyone's new tops.

A few months ago, I had the brief thought of resurrecting the challenge in honor of Faye. And then, I would have random old posts pop up on Facebook or Instagram and bam! a comment from Faye! Or I'd be considering a remake of something and hit my blog archives and bam! a comment from Faye!

The other day, I shared a few new tops that I cranked out and someone messaged me and said, "This reminds me of Faye's sew along." And well...that was the final sign that I should go for it!


  • From June 1 until June 15, we're going to sew new tops for summer! Sure, we'll likely still be quarantined but it'll give us something fun to focus on.
  • As Faye always stressed, it can be any top! Tank top, cami, shirt, blouse, sleeveless, with sleeves, tunics, ANY type of top!
  • There are NO Quotas! Sew one top or sew 10 tops!!
  • We will use the hashtag #FayesTopsThatPop

You can:
Hash tag your new tops and I'll grab them on IG for the roundup posts


You can send me a photo of your top as you complete them to sewcraftychemist ==at== gmail (you know the rest! I want to avoid bots picking up the address)

  • Sign up in comments and include your blog name and/or IG handle.
  • Spread the word and grab the button on the upper right of my blog!

Friday, May 8, 2020

Creating with Cricut Joy!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cricut for Cricut. All opinions are 100% mine.
About two years ago, I jumped on the Cricut train. I'd seen sewers using their cutting machines to add heat transfer vinyl designs to clothing for themselves or their little ones and kept reminding myself to look into it. Then, Cricut contacted me about their affiliate program when the Maker was being released and I jumped on the opportunity.

Cricut recently released a new cutting machine. The Cricut Joy is the perfect companion to quickly and easily personalize anything with one cut and one color, in 15 minutes or less. It is fun, functional, and simple to use! Practical, everyday projects have never been more accessible or easier. If you already have a Maker or Explore Air 2, Cricut Joy opens up additional creative possibilities with unique features and is the perfect companion for quick, mat-free projects and long cuts.

The biggest selling point for me is how compact and portable the machine is. The Maker has unparalleled capabilities - it's amazing. A few months ago I picked my niece up from a friend's house and brought her back home with me until my brother and sister in law could pick her up. It was her birthday and I wanted to put together a quick card. But I just didn't feel I had time to pull out the Maker and my varying supplies (ahem, there may be quite a lot! LOL!) to make one in the time I had. If I'd had my Joy, I could have knocked that out in literally a few minutes! 

The Joy is Cricut's smallest cutting machine ever! It packs away easily, sets up instantly, making it super easy to move from room to room. Not having to transport a mat, combined with the smaller material size, makes the whole system compact and portable; no craft room required! It fits in a cubby or looks great sitting out on a counter or shelf. 

When I received my Joy, I already knew what I needed to use it for!

2020 is the year of babies in our family! I needed a quick gift and decided on a onesie and a card. 

I got all my tools ready!

First up:
I used Cricut Smart Iron-On to create a cute little bowtie.

With the new Cricut Joy Smart materials, mats are optional! The Joy has a full suite of brand-new materials that do not require a mat, meaning less to buy, fewer steps, and faster results. New Smart vinyl comes in extended sizes, with up to 20 feet repeated cut capability, and no need to switch out multiple mats. 

There are lots of options for colors and prints!

The process is SO slick. 

Create your project in Design Space like normal and click Make It.  Unless you're cutting something that is specific in how it can be cut, you'll be given the options shown below.

Because I am using Smart Materials, I chose Without Mat. I am using Iron-On so I have mirrored my design. 

Then clicked Continue in the lower right. 

Choose the appropriate material. 
I have also highlighted the Unload option. I had to use this just the other day because my material loaded slightly crooked. 

Click Go and seconds later, my bowtie was cut and ready to apply to my onesie! 

I pulled out my Easy Press (which I immediately purchased during a Black Friday sale at JoAnn when I got my Cricut Maker!) and input the settings appropriate for the Smart Iron-On and cotton onesie (Cricut provides all of this info for you - don't worry!). 

I decided to add my FAVORITE thing to baby tees - a 'Hi, I'm New Here' "nametag"! 

So for this project, we need the Cricut Joy mat. I used a piece of Cricut Iron-On that I had in my stash.  The process is exactly the same except for choosing On Mat at the first screen.

Once cut, I weeded the design and used my Easy Press to add the design. Since I purchased mine, Cricut has made some updates and it is now offered as Easy Press 2. There are 4 size options! I have the 9"x9" version and it is also offered in a jumbo 12"x10" size, 6"x7" (great if you're making a lot of kid/baby projects!), and a mini version which people love for adding Iron-On to small areas like on hats, shoes, keychains, etc. 

I love it!!!

I needed a card to go with my gift. This time, I brought my tiny, adorable, Cricut Joy down to the dining room table to work. Score!

Cricut Joy exclusive blank insert card sets allow you to create unique and impressive results in a moment's notice!

There are SO many options of colors and finishes to create unique cards for any occasion.

I chose the cream/silver brush set which comes with cream cards, silver inserts and white envelopes.

For this project, we are using the Cricut card mat. It's pure genius! It has a sleeve that allows you to insert the pre-scored and folded card so that you can cut a design out on the front while keeping the back in tact.

By setting my machine to Joy, I will filter out projects that aren't compatible. Then, I chose cards from the categories list, and baby as a search term. It was tough to choose but I decided to go with the Onesie card to match my gift. 

This is where it gets good! ALL you need to do is click Make it! 

Design Space knows that since you are using a Cricut Joy insert card that you're using the card mat, and there's no need to make any adjustments! 

Insert the card into the mat, press down to secure the card to the mat, and insert the card mat into the Joy. When the materials (mats or Smart materials) come into contact with the rollers on the machine, it automatically loads into the machine. 

The Joy makes quick work of cutting out the design and Design Space lets you know when to unload the mat. 

Gently remove the card from the mat (the cut out cardstock will remain on the mat!) and add the insert card into the slots and you're done! 

Yes, I later decorated my Joy with this cute smily face and Smart Vinyl!

I've chose to write my own message in this card but the Joy also writes! Cricut Joy compatible pens are available in a wide variety of pen types and line widths and can write in a variety of styles. 

I had so much fun with the Joy that I cranked out graduation cards for several graduates who'll be missing out on their Commencement - including my daughter! :(

I also made a ton of Mother's Day cards for family and friends and will be back soon to show off the writing capabilities of the Joy!

More later! 

Learn more about the Cricut Joy or any of the other Cricut cutting machines, Smart materials, Easy Press, and other tools and materials. 

This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything through these links or via the banner on my blog, I will make a small commission. All opinions are genuine! 
You all know I love my Cricut!!