Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Wrap-Up

I know everyone says it, but, HOW DID THIS YEAR GO BY SO QUICKLY?!? It was simultaneously long and arduous but over as quick as lightning. Funny how that happens. 

On a personal note, the new job I started last December quickly turned sour. It was about 5/6 weeks in that I realized I'd made a mistake. And I tried to do everything in my power, but you can't change someone else. I left in April and soon after found my actual dream job. I've been there since mid-June and it has been an amazing transition. 

I've faced some really tough family issues this year and have been in therapy consistently all year. But I am seeing progress as the year comes to a close. Hopeful for better, brighter days. 

My little grandson? He became a Big Brother 21 days before his 1st birthday! :) Those boys are so sweet, so well-loved (and well fed!), and an absolute joy. 

So 2021 did indeed bring many joyous moments: DD was able to walk at commencement this year (she graduated last year but it was virtual), my parents visited for 2 weeks this summer, I had a girl's trip with my closest friends, I started an amazing job and welcomed a new grandson and that's where I will keep my focus. 

My 2021 sewing goals? Blergh. LOL! I had 9 goals:

  • Sew a trench coat
  • Sew more jackets/blazers
  • Sew bras/bralettes
  • Sew 2 pieces of silk from stash
  • Make at least 1 machine knit project per quarter
  • Sew a set of travel bags
  • Sew a blazer for my husband
  • Sew jeans for my husband
  • Sew a quilt for grandson

Yeah, no. LOL! I started a jacket that's a UFO, I muslined a bralette pattern (I am realizing I just don't care about sewing lingerie, unfortunately), I sewed one piece of silk, and made two items on my knitting machine. 

2021 Totals:

  • 41 items (8 gifts/33 for me)
  • 24 from stash (59%)
  • 68.75 yards
  • 33.75 from stash (55%)
  • 50+ yards donated

I was conservative in my estimate of donated fabrics but will say I donated 4 plastic Mood Fabrics bags worth to my kid's former HS for their theatre program. And considering I almost always buy fabric in cuts of 2 to 4 yards, I think that's a decent rough estimate. 

  • 68.75 yards sewn
  • 50 yards donated
  • 67 yards purchased

In the first 9 months of the year, I had purchased just 25 yards of fabric. My ratio was great! I think donating that fabric sent overboard, LOL! I purchased 42 yards of fabric from October-December. So technically, I brought in 56% of the fabric I used/sent out. I'll allow it :-P

This collage includes: Burda bias cut cami (rated love) * Simplicity top (rated okay) * Burda UFO jacket * bralette muslin * Burda hoodie (rated love) * Burda dress (rated love) * Simplicity tops (rated love)

Garment status

Digging deeper into the 33 items I sewed for myself, I rated them: 

  • 13 items that I love, including:
    • Burda 1/2021 cardigan
    • McCall's 6744 floral dress
    • Burda 1/2019 polka-dot hoodie (pictured above)
    • Burda 2/2013 trousers (current WIP)
    • It's worth noting that 7 of the 13 are Burda magazine patterns

  • 3 items that I like, including:
    • Burda 5/2020 silk charmeuse top (the back slit droops which makes it a like, not a love)
    • McCall's 6844 cardigan (the fabric is a little itchy, boo!)
    • Simplicity 9275 top (I love everything about it except the the pooling in the back
  • 5 items that are just okay, including:
    • Simplicity 8529 black/olive top (the olive fabric is a little too drapey)
    • McCall's 6754 blue floral dress (It's a little too short! wah!)
    • Simplicity 8337 emerald green top (pictured above, I don't love the ruffle)
    • New Look 6651 dress in blue print voile (it may be a tad too matronly, yet to be reviewed)
    • Burda 1/2018 black and white print cotton skirt (Minerva crafts project - fabric just too firm)
  • 6 UFOs (I don't have a requirement of myself to finish UFOs, some may become FOs, some might become wadders):
    • Burda 6/2018 black & white boucle jacket (pictured above). I just got burnout on the project and then it was too small, and now it fits again so I am hopeful that I'll finish it
    • 2 skirts from my TNT Butterick 5760 (one needs a hem, one needs a lining)
    • McCall's 7920 dress (I chose a white fabric and instead of looking sleek and chic, it looks kind of nurse-ish)
    • Burda 5/2020 dress (it is a fitted garment and you know, Burda means FITTED. I cut my regular size and when I basted it, it was WAY too small. So I'll revisit in the late spring/early summer and determine if it's worth finishing.)
    • Burda 5/2020 skirt (I always end up with a fitted bottom at the basting stage during PMS week. ALWAYS! And I put this aside and didn't come back to it, and then it was cold. I will finish it because I love it, but it is definitely not a winter garment so it'll be revisited.)

Of my 5 wadders, the real disappointments were the red & white striped cotton jersey I paid an arm and a leg for from Marcy Tilton that bled all over the place, the clip-dot voile McCall's 8042 top, and the recent fail that was the Simplicity 9373 chartreuse cardigan. 

I always sew more tops than other garments. What can I say, I'm consistent! Also worth noting that of the 14 tops I sewed, 10 of them were either Burda magazine or Simplicity, which is consistent with the pattern brands I think fit me well. 

Garment Type

Of the 33 garments, there were:

  • 14 tops (4 wadders, 1 donated because it was too small)
  • 8 dresses (2 UFOs)
  • 5 skirts (3 UFOs, I intend to finish all)
  • 4 cardigans (1 wadder)
  • 1 jacket (UFO)
  • 1 pant (WIP)

ONE PAIR OF PANTS?! That's insanity! I think I spent a lot of the year hoping/planning to lose weight and ended up buying a few pair of pants to get me through. I'm excited to sew a few new pairs, soon.

Pattern Company

Of the 33 garments sewn for myself, I sewed:

  • 13 Burda Magazine
  • 8 McCall's
  • 7 Simplicity
  • 3 Butterick
  • 1 New Look 
  • 1 Burda envelope

I sewed a Kommatia pattern for my daughter but otherwise, no Indie patterns this year. I really don't feel like I missed them either. I did purchase a handful of Viki Sews patterns during a sale (I got 6 or 7 for ~$30) so we will see if any of them are sewn in 2022!

I should have my Beatrice Form very soon after the new year and I'm curious to see how it will change my sewing life :) I definitely do not plan to touch those VS patterns until I have it. It'll be so much easier to see the fit changes needed with the form!

Goodbye, 2021!!

This collage includes: failed top due to pattern and fabric (Burda 8/2016+Marcy Tilton cotton jersey) * machine knit sweater for grandson * golf club covers for my brother * S9011 dress * Burda 3/2014 top sewn for the Rebecca Page sewing summit * M7061 hoodie * Burda 1/2021 (I LOVE THIS TOP!) * M6016 baby shirt * matching shirt for dad with M6044


I worked on this blog post Monday afternoon and then my energy started to plummet. I chalked it up to a long morning of interviews (we conducted 4 back to back) and a big lunch. Tuesday morning, I had 4 more interviews to conduct and really started to drag. Plus, I had crazy congestion, sneezing and coughing. I jokingly asked my husband, "Do I have COVID?" I scheduled a test and just over 24 hours later, discovered I was indeed Covid positive. I am fully vaccinated and I do believe my case is considered mild. It's uncomfortable, for sure, but mild. I am isolating and doing all I can to take care. I'm pretty salty that my long holiday break was tainted! I was ready to do some serious sewing! 

I'm going to work on my 2022 planning post while I have the energy :-)

Friday, December 24, 2021

Burda 2/2020 #117 (and failed S9373)

Can we talk about how awesome this issue was? I was on the fence about resubscribing for 2022 because 2021 was SO lackluster. Looking at some of the 2020 issues only reaffirms that (Feb, Mar, May(!!))

While this is only my second garment from this issue, I do have fabric and plans to sew the Balmain-esque blazer #102, there's a casual jacket on my radar #120, and I ADORE that shirt with a tail #110. 

I planned to sew this right away but had some reservations as finished objects started to post. When I decided to add a red top to my wardrobe and found this cut of ITY (Fabric Mart) in the stash, I knew I would use this pattern. Upon a closer look at other's garments, I think that some may have been concerned with the neckline or just didn't want it too low and raised it. For me, it works as-is.

I sewed the sleeve and body in one pass and used a 1/4" seam allowance instead of the 3/8" I'd added because I was worried about it fitting. I think I need to go in at the underarm and take it in *just* a bit.

I used a size 42 (should have used my normal size 40 neckline, it's a little loose around the neck), and a 44 back from the armhole down. I did a slash and spread on the back below the waist to add about an inch. I also added 1" to the bicep (this pattern had a 13" finished sleeve width. EESH!). 

Changes from the pattern only involves leaving off the sleeve ruffle. I like it, it's just not practical for wearing under a coat, especially at the shorter length. There's nothing more aggravating than having your sleeve stuck, rumpled up in your coat sleeve!! Also, it's the TUNDRA so I may need to wear this under a jacket or cardigan sometimes. 

I really love the tie belt too! I am often not a fan of self-fabric belts but this just seemed right for this pattern. I did thread chains for loops but placed them at the waist/where the surplice hit and that's technically too high, but I just loosened the belt a bit and it seems fine. I'm certainly not cutting them out and redoing them. 

I am really thrilled with the outcome of this top - simple but effective and especially in this bright red! I remember, years ago making a red top and thinking, OMG NO! I cannot wear that! :) It felt way too bold. Now? Tuh! I love it!!! 

This is fantasy because there's no possible chance of bare legs in the tundra :-p

I am SO HAPPY to have my mojo back y'all!!!! 

It's not about feeling like I have to sew, it's about genuinely enjoying the process, making things that fit my body (today! right now!) and spending my free time in a way that makes me feel good. 

Plus, I've finally made the decision to apply to grad school next year and I think the fear kicked me into "making overdrive". hahahahaha! In reality, I am getting to a much better place mentally than I've been for about the past 3 years and it feels great. 

Already completed and ready to photograph is a turtleneck maxi from Burda 10/2018, and I am in-progress on a pair of pants from Burda 2/2013.

Oh. The disaster that is Simplicity 9373. Meh. It's enormous and boxy in a bad way. The sleeve cuffs are RIDICULOUS!!!!!! They are enormous. I removed 2" in width and still, they just...ugh. I was sad I wasted my chartreuse sweater knit (SR Harris) but once I pulled it out of my sewing room trash (really, LOL! But I *only* put fabric and thread and stuff in those trash cans and never empty them until a project is complete done!) and took these pics and realized it's SO enormous that I can very likely get a cute little top from the deal. I'm thinking NL6314 because I've made it before, wear those 2 tops all the time, and this fabric doesn't have great recovery so that pattern will pair well.


If you celebrate, I hope you have the merriest of Christmases! If this holiday is tough for you, for whatever reason, take good care of yourself because you deserve it <3

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Simplicity 9275

I have to take some quick pics of my failed S9373 cardigan...I used a BEAUTIFUL charmeuse sweater knit on that darned pattern! grr!

But, my mojo was redeemed with this project! 

I cut a size 14 with the back graded to a 16 through the hip. I shortened the top above the band 1", and did a 1" full bicep adjustment. 

Warning if you have hips/butt, the band is just a rectangle. I would alter the back band to be more of a trapezoid shape or very light peplum to ensure there was enough room. See crude drawing below :-p

While there is a little extra back length, most of those wrinkles is because the lower band can't relax. And you can see on the side view that it's pulling to the back. Again, some of that is how I'm standing/twisting, but yeah...I need more room in the back band. 

I refused(!) to do a facing on this pattern and ended up stitching a line at 5/8", clipping, turning and topstitching. As SOON as I finished the top, I thought, DOH! why didn't I do a strip of binding as a facing?! (stitch, turn to the inside and topstitch). SO I think the neckline might be too flimsy and I am debating if I should remove the coverstitching and add a faced binding.

I added 1" to the sleeve length and left a 3" opening for the slit. Just a little fun detail, no real reason otherwise :)

I cut a few samples to test the topstitching options because I wasn't certain I'd add the pocket. I had to cut the pocket on the cross grain (top) because the fabric was behaving weird and stretching out of shape with it cut on-grain. The pocket is a fun addition. Speaking of fabric, it's a "ponte" by Telio...their leggero which is quite interesting. It's opaque and drapey (65% rayon/31% nylon/4% spandex) and is just under 7oz/yd) and washes, presses, and sews well. It does wrinkle really easily though. 

I think it works with a lot of items, as long as the waistband is flat. I have never been much of a tunic fan (because they don't tend to work well narrow shoulders and a bum!) but I am trying to get on board. I tried it with jeans, slim pants, cropped pants, trousers, and a straight skirt so here's a couple of looks!

Not sewing related, I stalked this DKNY top for so long at Macy's! It was $59 and I was just unable to for a poly top. It went on sale Black Friday/Cyber Monday and I scored it for $29, that's in my budget! It's a pleated fabric with a ruffled color and neck tie, and it's in black & white print which makes it a perfect fit into my wardrobe.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Simplicity 9375

I actually finished this in a timely manner! Yay me! You know the's winter in the tundra and I have to get pics when I can. In this case, I work from home on Thursdays and that's an opportunity!

As mentioned in my last post, I got this fabric from Fabric Mart during a recent sale and it is really nice! It was listed as a double knit but I don't think that's true. DKs have knit stitches on both sides, right? At any rate, its a poly/rayon/lycra, washed and dried well, and has nice drape. I saw it on the site and immediately new I'd use it for this skirt pattern. 

I am still carrying my COVID +15 and went up a size bigger. The last skirt I was working on is a UFO because I cut my normal size and it DOES NOT FIT. LOL! I cut an 18 front and 20 back. I was lazy and didn't do a butt adjustment and the skirt tilts just enough to annoy me when I'm looking at it/pics. Grr. 

Otherwise, I really love everything about it. The fabric looks like it could be a wool woven and the plaid makes me happy!! The pattern is very intuitive to assemble. The overlay is reinforced, a small pass-through is hemmed, the exposed edge gets hemmed and the whole thing basted to the front. The smaller piece is treated the same and then looped through the overlap and basted to the upper front. Interestingly, the front is left loose under the overlay -- on the left side the front and back are sewn together but on the right side, the front+overlay+back are sewn together until the break and then just the overlay and back with the front loose. I imagine this is in place of a walking slit? Especially if you're a) using the longer length or b) using a woven fabric. 

I looked at the length for this view (22") and the longer one (28") and was going to add 3". I wish I had! It comes to my knee which is my favorite skirt length, but I think this could have been very impactful just a hair longer (but not midi length). I'm too thick for midi length skirts. I have little waist definition and very shapely legs but they can turn squat with the wrong length. I can pull off midi dresses but have never really liked that length on a skirt. Mini, knee, and just past the knee, or maxi length. 

I inserted a center zip instead of invisible since this tape color was a perfect match. Also, because I was using a knit but treating it like a woven, I used a firmer (not tricot) interfacing on the facing pieces, and added a 1.25" band of interfacing to the upper skirt edge (front and back). I don't want this skirt growing on me throughout the day when worn. And I did an okay job on the plaid matching too! Woohoo!

I did all of the hemming on the coverstitch machine

The fabric is so versatile! It has a pale grey background with black and rust/brown plaid lines. I can really play off both the grey and the rust with pairing it with other wardrobe items. My fave!

I do like this length, but I can also see how 2 more inches would've been better. It sort of turns me into a square. The skirt is about 22" and I have a 45.5" hip so about 22" across the front of my body.
Not a complaint...just an observation. I love my body, the most! LOL!

I adore these boots! 

I'm so close to finishing up the baby sweater! I am going to sew the side seams today and then I'll seam the ribbing by hand, weave in the ends (grr), and by then my new yarn for the matching baby sweaters should be here! 

since taking this pic, the sleeves have been seamed to the sweater

Friday, November 26, 2021

In Progress

Life has been life'ing. I am overwhelmed, over tired, and over stressed. There's just been too much stuff

But, the bright side is, I've gotten back in the sewing room. I'm currently working on this newer Simplicity pattern, S9375, in a plaid double knit I got from FM last month (those shipping discounts will get me every time).

I got a lot done the past 2 days. Yesterday I cut out my pattern pieces, today I cut the fabric, fully assembled the front, the back darts are sewn and it's awaiting a zipper. I will likely finish it this weekend, yay! I still need to sew the zipper, baste the side seams for fit, sew the side seams, and hem. So it may be done tomorrow...maybe Sunday.

Really love this fabric as it looks like it could be a wool/woven but it's a knit! The double knit has some drape but is stable, so I cut my normal size, I'll make any necessary adjustments at the side seams, but I don't want this to fit too snugly either. 

I finished up my knit hat. It's slouchy but I wish I'd added more increases earlier on. All the "slouch" is near the top/tip of the hat. The yarn is really nice though!

I also started a sweater for Bert. It's an old pattern, likely from the 80s and a bit generous in sizing I think. I'm going to finish it but I'm also going to try the pattern one size smaller. I have all 4 pieces knit and blocked. Next up is the neckband, then assembly. Since it's a sweater for a little one, I'll seam it on the serger with a 3-thread stitch. Here's a pic of the back with 1 sleeve (I think I may knit the neckband in yellow just in case there are any errors with picking up stitches. They'll be easily hidden!):

I saw a cute colorblocked sweater and wanted to do something similar, but had no "fun" colors in stash. I visited Cindy in Princeton, MN (if you're a machine knitter, you have to visit her shop!) and we found lots of cones of yarn appropriate for my standard gauge machine. I picked up a purple but didn't care for the shade and she said, oh that one's wool. I figured I'd keep that one...there was another wool cone in gray. I got home and that yarn (Brown Sheep Nature Spun sport weight) retails for $50/lb! SCORE! I paid $1/lb!! My son in law's favorite color is purple so I'll use that one to make him a hat :)

If you're in the US, hopefully you had a great Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Oldies but Goodies

I finished my cardigan! Woohoo!!

As mentioned in my last post, when I got this fabric from Fabric Mart, I knew I wanted to sew it right away, and hunted the stash for a pattern. It's a double knit, gray with a purplish undertone and lurex threads on the right side. It washed up really well! I bought 2 yards and you know FM!! The pattern calls for 1 5/8 yards and I easily have a full yard leftover. So you may see this fabric again.

Look at that fabric! :drool:

I went with an old favorite, McCall's 6844, but knew I had outgrown the size medium, but was not going to fit into a size large. I took my measurements and decided on the following adjustments:

3/8" to the front from about 1.5" below the armpit to the waist, and smoothed the seamline. The narrow shoulder adjustment is from the original pattern adjustments. Probably 1/4 or 3/8". 

1/2" to the back from shoulder blade through the hem, with a wedge at the side seam. Swayback adjustment of 1/2" and added a center back seam. 

The sleeve on this pattern is BANANAS. I think the finished measurement was 13" and I originally added 1.5". I added another 3/4" by adding 3/8" at the side seams. My bicep measured 14.75" I also added 1/2" to the sleeve head height. Due to the fabric, I ended up sewing the seams at 3/8".

I think the adjustments worked out very well! I had a slightly harder time putting in the left sleeve because my gathering stitches weren't moving easily through the fabric, but it won't bother me much.
I tried the loose sleeve on (dur, doesn't work out too well) and it seemed like it might be short so I hemmed it at 5/8" (it has a 1 1/4" hem allowance). Well, I should have hemmed it at 1 1/4"! I will likely just cut off the existing hem and sew a new one at 5/8" vs unpicking the (very well matched!) thread.

I really love it and think the color and iridescence allows it to match with SO many other colors.

Earlier this year, in May, I sewed a couple new dresses from TNT patterns and never blogged them. While I don't care for the twist front dress with the cardigan, the cardigan will work with tan/taupe/natural fabrics. 

Butterick 6621 in taupe jersey from Stylish Fabrics
I wouldn't wear *this* bra with this dress...this is my lazy bra but I just took the advantage of the daylight to take pics

Another TNT, M7465 is one of my favorite patterns ever. 
The front and back skirt uses the same pattern piece but I've created a new back piece to accommodate my behind so that it isn't super tight. 
And these suede Clark pumps are my fave!

Lastly, MY DRESS FORM IS ALMOST READY! Woohoo! This was the first rendering--it's been since tweaked and will be smoother in the final form (e.g., you can see indentations from my bra straps). 

I am so excited!!

Sunday, October 31, 2021

October Wrap-up & November plans

l sewed something this month! Haha! I was going to try to work on this jacket from 6/2018 that I started some time ago but, Oops. It doesn't fit right now. 

But I also ordered fabric this month. FM had discounted shipping and that is so hard for me to resist! LOL!

I really liked the DKNY jersey, found the double knit and swooned, then saw the interlock (V1835) and that plaid rayon shirting was $1.99/yd. I ordered 5 yards with the plan to make some nice, traditional pajamas. But it washed up BEAUTIFULLY and I may use it for a dress, and stash the rest. 
Then, they had their $2, $3, $4 sale soon after and I found some really great pieces of fabric (18.5 yards for $56?! Rayon blend knits, viscose and rayon wovens? SCORE. 

When I washed up the first fabric order, I brought the metallic double knit up and said, I'm about to make a cardigan. I was so excited! I spent so much time Thursday night combing the pattern stash, looking for the right thing. However, my hand was really bothering me. I don't know about you, but cutting the pattern tissue/paper is such a tedious part of the job and for some reason, tests my fine motor skills much more so than cutting the fabric. So I knew I had to choose something I'd made before. 

I don't know how many versions of M6844 I've made over the years (at least 5), but I knew it was it! I made pattern adjustments Friday night and sewed it Saturday and Sunday. I'm really excited about this one. The base is a medium toned grey and the lurex threads allows it to take on the color of so many other colors! Grey, deeper shades of purple, coral, blush, and of course white, off white, black, etc. 

I will get pics this week and get it blogged. YAY!

as of Saturday afternoon, it's since finished

So that's 1 5/8 yards sewn for October! woot woot! 

I'd also like to use another pattern that's been sewn before, the In-House Patterns Belle bow blouse, to do my version if this Tahari top. I like that the Belle has an extended shoulder line. I really loved the cotton voile version I made way back when, I think the print just wasn't a good fit for my wardrobe. I later made a version in white rayon challis that just wasn't right...I don't think I had the skills to work with a solid challis at that time. :)

It's getting cold in the tundra y'all. I saw this simple little "snood" on Lafyette 148's website for $348. WHEW! It is cashmere, but it it's a 14.5" square! It's a tiny square!! So I'm going to decide on a tuck stitch pattern that I like on the machine, and knit one up.  

I had to buy a new coat this weekend so why not make a new scarf? It's not like I own 20 scarves and cowls already...haha!