Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On hiatus!

On indefinite hiatus!

Bad Day, by Daniel Powter. Sing or just enjoy the music!

Oh, and if you sing, sing LOUD!!! :-)

Karaoke version:

Billy Draper's video version:

Chipmunks version:

Live version:

Disney version:

Spongebob's version:

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sewing for the Hourglass

Contrary to what a lot of people think, being categorized as an hourglass has nothing to do with boobage size. It's all about the side silhouette.

The hourglass has shoulders and hips that are approximately the same in width, and a waist that is noticeably smaller--around 10" smaller.

Sewing for this shape is relatively easy, if you don't follow the pattern instructions. When it comes to pattern instructions, we hourglasses have to go our own way if we want our clothes to fit.

Pattern instructions for tops or dresses that join a bodice to a bottom usually advise you to sew the front bodice to the back bodice, and the front bottom to the back bottom. And then it instructs you to sew the top to the bottom.

If you are an hourglass, don't do that. If you follow those directions, it will be difficult to contour the sides of what you are sewing to your hourglass side curves.

Instead, sew the front bodice to the front bottom, then sew the back bodice to the back bottom. Sew the shoulder seams, and then baste the sides.

Try it on and pin the back closed. The minimal amount of pinning that you will probably be able to get away with will be to pin at the neckline, waist, and hips.

After you have the pins pretty much holding the back closed, take a good look at the fit of the sides in the mirror. If you see that you need to take it in a little more at the waist, pinch the fabric to see how much you need to take out. Split that amount between the side seams. If you pinch out 4 inches, pin out 2 inches on each side right at the waist. From that point, place your pins so they taper back to the regular seams. Baste, then try it on. 

Keep adjusting until you are satisfied with the fit.

For styles without a waist seam, sew the darts or princess seams, then sew the shoulders. and baste the sides. Pin the opening (front or back) closed so you'll be able to see how it fits. If you need to take it in a little, split the amount you need to take in between the side seams. If you need to take in a lot, split that amount among ALL of the seams (darts, princess seams, sides seams). You can play around with the amounts to take out of each, so you'll get the most flattering fit.

If you follow this method, you will be able to sew fitted clothes for yourself that follow your shape, but that are not tight.

It always works for me, and it should work for you!

Make this day a good one!  

Monday, August 20, 2012

McCalls 6444 - And the fun continues - Green & White Striped Cardi - Done!

I love McCalls 6444:

I've made it several times before. It's a TNT, so nothing new to say about this one. If you want to read the past posts about it, go here and here.

This time around, I made it with a fun green and white striped knit to match the top that I just posted about.

It's part of a twinset that almost wasn't because of operator error.

I cut the front and back for the cardi, and then I got really enthused about the matching top and cut out all of the pieces for it. After I was finished, I realized that I didn't cut the sleeves for the cardi! UGH!!! And all I had left were scraps!!!! OMG!!!

I looked at the scraps and frantically went through them! I could easily cut the cuffs, but nothing was big enough for the sleeves. And then I remembered throwing some scraps away earlier, so I checked the sewing trash can. Voila! Two pieces just barely big enough to cut the sleeves!!! YAY!!!

Here's my new cardi . . . with sleeves and with the matching top!

Well, that concludes my weekend wrap up!

Make this day a really good one!

Butterick 3391 - Navy Knit Top with Asymmetrical Neckline

Butterick 3391 is a TNT for me.

I've made the sleeveless version of the top with the asymmetrical neckline several times before and I just made it again!

Since it's a TNT, the pattern was already adjusted to fit me--that would be hourglass and petite adjustments, and a slightly higher neckline!!!

Here it is:

The only design change that I made was to convert the side gathers to side tucks.

Actual machine stitching time was 1 minute 11 seconds. And it took me all of 1/2 hour to finish it.

Up next is McCalls 6444, another TNT cardi.

Butterick 5429 - Navy Knit Top with Neck Twist

I sewed Butterick 5429 with a navy knit:

I made it 'as is' when the pattern first came out, and just as I expected, it looked awful on me. I really liked the neck twist, but the wide neckline and the extended shoulders had to go!

So I took out my trusty drafting tools and redrafted the pattern to suit me.

This is the first go round--before I took the neckline in:

When I adjusted the neckline on the second draft, it was perfect!!!

Heads up, this is a very loose fitting top! I had to take mine in considerably. But after all was said and done, it turned out perfectly! Not only that, but it was super easy to sew!

I actually timed the machine stitching time. OMG! It took me only 1 minute and 40 seconds to machine stitch all the seams (front seam, shoulder seams, yoke seams, back seam, side seams, etc.). It took time to also stop and pin, etc., but actual stitching time was 1 minute and 40 seconds. Amazing!!!!

Figure out your actual stitching time, and you will be amazed at how much besides machine stitching goes into sewing.

Here's my top:

And here's a close up of the twist:

I like it so much that I'm thinking that I need one in each of my fave colors!!! :-)

Up next is an asymmetrical neckline navy top from another TNT--Butterick 3391.

Simplicity 2650 - Redrafted Navy Cardi

I made another one of my redrafted cardis. If you want to read about how I changed Simplicity 2650 to come up with this style, go here.

But before you go, here's my new navy cardi:

It looks more business-like because I changed it a little. I stitched an opening in one side of the center front tie so the other side could slip through. I haven't worn it, yet, but I'm thinking I'll wear it with pins to keep the ties in place.

Up next is Butterick 5429 - a navy top with a neck twist.

OOP Butterick 5458 - Coral Cotton Sateen Top - Done!

I originally planned to sew a coral wrap top as part of my PAC. BUT, at the very last minute, just as I was about to press down on the scissors to cut the fabric, I pulled my hand back! I couldn't do it because I kept imagining the knit cardi looking bumpy right where the wrap was tied!

Can't have that! So I replaced the wrap top with the no fuss, no muss sleeveless top from OOP Butterick 5458:

I still want a coral wrap top, just not as part of this PAC.

I originally sewed this pattern a few years ago, but only wore the top a few times because of the fabric that I chose--a poor quality pink cotton print that faded at the edges after only a couple of times through the washer and dryer. 

I liked the style a lot, so I made it again in a solid white pique. It was flattering and matched with practically everything I wanted to wear it with. It was definitely a go to piece for me--I liked it soo much that I wore it out.

It was definitely time to make another one.

This time, I used a solid cotton sateen in a very nice shade of coral. The color is a little more vibrant than the coral of the cardi that I wrote about last time, but they go together nicely.

Here it is with the cardi (don't mind the cardi--I took the pic just after a whole day of wearing it).

For the top, I made my usual petite and hourglass adjustments. I also folded out the center front pleat that runs from the top to the bottom of the bodice--it would have looked awful on me if it opened. For a more polished finish, I also extended the bottom darts to the hemline.

Here's my new blouse (not pressed yet):

That's two down! YAY!

Up next is another Simplicity cardi, this time in navy.

Make this day a good one!!!

A SUPER Productive Sewing Weekend!!!

I had a very productive sewing weekend!

I sewed a bunch of quick and easy TNTs on Saturday and Sunday! When I say a bunch, I really mean it!

I only sewed knits, so it went really quickly as no serging was necessary.

Here's my list of completed projects:

1. Butterick 5459 - coral sateen top 
2. Simplicity 2650 - navy knit cardi
3. Butterick 5429 - navy knit top with high twist
4. Butterick 3991 - navy knit top with asymmetrical neckline
5. McCalls 6444 - green and white striped knit cardi
6. McCalls 5853 - green and white striped knit ruffled top

I'm writing a separate post for each for archiving purposes.

Stay tuned . . .  they're coming up right after this!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Simplicity 2560 - Re-draft - Coral Cardi - Done!

On Sunday afternoon, I finally sat down and finished sewing my redraft of Simplicity 2560.

As I mentioned earlier, I redrafted 1) the bodice to have set in sleeves, and 2) the bottom so it would be slightly flared and would have a shaped hemline, like Simplicity 2148:

Drafting my cardi was easy, but I realize that not everyone likes drafting--if you want to make this, but don't draft, worry not as you can morph. To adjust the bodice, simply morph the set-in armhole of your fave knit cardi with 2650.

For the back, line up the center back and the shoulders of both patterns, then morph the set-in armhole of your cardi with the back neckline and the rest of the back bodice of 2560, and you're done.

Since the front sections don't meet, there is no center front to use as a base point. Not a problem. Line up the shoulder of the front set-in armhole with the shoulder of the back set-in armhole.

Then morph the front set-in armhole with the front neckline and the rest of the front bodice of 2560, and you're set.

For the bottom morph, simply use a slightly flared bottom from something with an empire line. Adjust it to fit the bodice, then shape the hem yourself using whatever angle looks good to you. And you're done.

Definitely make a few muslins first, to ensure that the pattern pieces are lining up correctly, and that everything fits.

Here's my new coral cardi--you can see the slight flare of the cardi's bottom in the pic

This was actually a muslin, but after I cut it out, I knew it was going to be wardrobe quality. What can I say--it's part of my extended 9 PAC wardrobe.

You can see the versatility of the sleeves here--the cardi is paired with one of my fave white tops:

The sleeves are from Simplicity 2603. 2603 is the cozy pattern that everyone has. You probably have it in your stash. I put these sleeves on practically all of my cardis--looks chic and requires no hemming!!!

I used a lightweight textured knit with a lot of stretch. Because of the stretch, I stabilized the neckline, shoulders and the bottom of the bodice with cotton twill tape. I also hand-stitched a small rolled hem on the front and bottom edges. I had no choice but to hand stitch because machine stitching would have stretched it out of shape.

I'm rushing, so I'm not sure if the morph instructions were clear. If you need more info, LMK.

 I really like this cardi and am also making it in navy..

Up next is a coral wrap top made of a cotton sateen:

Woohoo! There is nothing like progress!!!

Make this day a good one!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Some Interesting Sewing Info on the Net

I was looking around and found some interesting and . . . FREE . . . sewing articles and books online. Check them out:

The first one is a vintage pattern drafting book that's difficult to find--since I'm in a drafting mood, I am thinking about drafting some of the interesting bodices!

If you want to save the download, move your cursor towards the bottom center of the screen--when the menu bar appears (it's the type that appears when your mouse is in the right spot), click on the first icon, the one right before the printer. The SAVE AS screen will appear--go from there (instruction for saving applies to all of the following):

1. http://sewingforlife.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/modern-pattern-design-1942.pdf

2. Over at BMV, there are some pretty good articles that are free to download. Too bad they're so well hidden that most people don't even know they exist! To find the free articles, go to voguepatterns.mccall.com, and click on magazines. Look at the left side bar, and click on articles.

Or go here:


For example, here's the link to their article about making a ham:


3. If you want to download of a vintage Singer book on sewing machines, go here:


I have a vintage Singer, but haven't read the entire book, yet. What I did see just from quickly browsing, so far, are some sewing tips that beginners might be interested in (as in how to hold your fabric when sewing, etc.). I also saw some instructions for using various attachments--that's what I'm interested in!

I didn't sew anything yesterday, but am planning to sew today.

That's it for now.

Make this day a good one!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Oh That New Look Peplum Dress!!! Love it!!! Should I????

I have been thinking and thinking about the peplum dress from New Look 6124.

I really like the printed version and want to make it with this mint green fabric--it was on the dress board that I posted recently:

What's holding me back is that I'm not sure a peplum like that will be flattering on me.

I knew the New Look 6130 asymmetrical peplum would be flattering because the hem doesn't cut straight across. I'm happy to say that I was definitely right about that! It's very flattering. If you have hips and want to give peplums a try, definitely at least make a muslin of 6130. Speaking from direct experience, the peplum doesn't call attention to my hips precisely because of the asymmetry. It is an amazing peplum design!!!

I guess I'll give 6124 a try. If the peplum ends up looking absolutely awful on me, I'll just remove it and wear the dress as a fitted sheath. That would work! Besides, look at how great the View A sheath looks! It looks like a sundress from the front, but from the back, it looks like a regular dress.

Not sure when I'll get to it, but it'll be soon!

Make this day a good one!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Look 6107 - yellow skirt

I decided to finish the last 2 pieces of my Summer wardrobe:

I haven't gotten to the dress, yet, but I sewed the skirt on Tuesday night. I used New Look 6107 (I added cutaway pockets, but sewed everything else with just my regular petite and hourglass adjustments).

Here's my simple little skirt--don't mind the pic as it's draped over a hanger, and hadn't been pressed, yet:

It's made of the same fabric as my yellow peplum top, which means that when I wear it with that top, I'll have a two piece dress!

The yellow and white printed pique dress will be up right after I finish sewing this OOP New Look 6468 emerald green top (see board on the side bar to the left):

I'm almost done:

Make this day a good one!

Monday, July 30, 2012

McCalls 2094 – Yellow/Black/White Dotted Top With Cut In Shoulders

I used McCalls 2094 as a jumping off point to make a simple top that I'd been wanting for while, but didn't have a pattern for:

This was an incredibly easy redraft.

I removed the front button opening and replaced it with a back zip opening. I also moved the side dart to the neckline. I turned the neck darts into 6 open, but functioning control pleats.

And then I focused on the armholes. I love a high neckline with cutaway shoulders, so I turned the armholes into cutaways.

I bias bound the neckline the traditional way, but I used the hidden bias method for the armholes.

When it was time to hem it, I realized that I didn't allow for the hem. ACK! I fixed it by hand stitching a very tiny rolled hem. Perfect!!! Next time, though, I'm adding an inch to the length for a regular hem.

Here's my new top!

Keep going--post 3 of 3 for today is next . . .

New Look 6130 – The Skinny on the Yellow Peplum Top!

When it rains, it pours. This is the first of three posts for today and they all have to do with my little 4 piece Summer capsule.

As I mentioned last time, I finally finished the New Look 6130 peplum top with the asymmetrical hemline. I wouldn't leave you hanging with just a pic, so here goes!

Here's the pattern:

I love a good bateau neckline, but I pictured this top with an asymmetrical neckline from the moment I first saw the pattern. The asymmetrical neckline that I had in mind would have looked odd with princess seams, so I switched out the princess seamed bodice for a darted one. I used the front bodice LINING piece from New Look 6067 because it only has waist darts:

It's piece #5 in this pic:

Basic patterns are great for using as jumping off points when you want to create your own design elements.

The first thing I did was to trace it because I needed a full bodice piece to work with. Can't cut an asymmetrical neckline on half a pattern.

I measured how deep I wanted the neckline, then marked it on the draft. I drew the new neckline freehand then tissue fit it.

On the first go-round, the neckline turned out much too low! The second time around, it wasn't much better! But the 3rd time was a charm! It was perfect!

For those who don't draft or are new to drafting, it is usually not a one try endeavor. On rare occasions, it is, but mostly, it takes more than one try to get the draft right.

Here's my finished front bodice pattern piece (I try to live green and recycle patterns that I would never use to trace my patterns):

And here's the strap (I simply used the part of the bodice that was cut off. I shaped it and added a seam allowance.):

I wanted design consistency, so I used the back bodice piece from the same pattern--darts in the front and darts in the back:

Now about the pleats on the peplum--I love the pleats, but I didn't think they'd work for my hips, so I removed them. Pleats don't work for my hips unless they're sewn down, if not all the way, then at least partially. Because of my smallish waist and hourglass hips, pleats not sewn down would definitely open and would make my stomach look like it was bulging out. When pleats open on me, it makes me look and feel pudgy and sloppy. For this version, the pleats were definitely out!

I removed the pleats by simply folding them out:

If I had wanted a narrower flare, I would have folded them out from edge to edge. I wanted the flare, so I folded and tapered.(see pic).

After having said all of that, I also have to add that I would probably have sewn it with the pleats if I had used a very drapey fabric. Drapey fabrics = flattering pleats that drape. :-)

I drafted facings for the neckine and armholes.

Front facing:

Back facing:

And finished it like this:

Front facing:

Back facing:

Sewn up sides:

So it wouldn't jar the eye, the asymmetry goes one way on the neckline and the other way on the peplum. Here's my top:

I used a soft silk that I am very happy with. Luckily, I have enough left over for a skirt--coming soon!

Stay tuned for post number 2 of 3 . . . it's up right after this one!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

McCalls 6444 - White Knit Topper

I've sewn McCalls 6444 three times:

The topper looks dorky in the pic on the patten envelope, but IRL, it's a very nice topper.

I sewed a black one, a gray and white printed one, and my 3rd was a solid white one. I sewed the white one before I started on my current plan, but it matches everything so perfectly that it's in!

What I really like about it is the collar! The collar isn't really noticeable when the front is worn open, like this (paired with my white knit top):

Both pieces are made of the same fabric--I have a twinset!

You can't miss the the collar when the front is worn tied, like this:

This is truly the perfect topper for my 6 pak!!!

It was incredibly easy to sew, and is sooo easy to wear!!!

Make this day a good one!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Drafting A Bodice Like the One From New Look 6067

I really like the dart treatment on the bodice of New Look 6067. It is a throwback to the elegant forties if I ever saw one--the darts, but not the dress, as the dress has a modern silhouette. Back in the 40s, they loved beautiful design elements like those chevron darts.

But I am a proportioned petite and shortening that bodice had nightmare written all over it.

Why? Because of the chevron darts.

If I shortened the bodice, it would throw off the spacing between the darts, it would change the length of the darts, and it would mess up the actual functioning dart itself!

After folding out enough length so it would fit me lengthwise, I'd have to go back and fix ALL of the above. I was not about to bother with any of it!

Instead, I decided to draft my own pattern. I haven't drafted anything in a while, but that didn't stop me. Ohh nooo! Not at all! I fearlessly plowed on! :-) 

The first thing I did was to gather up my supplies:

1. tissue from a pattern that I was never going to use
2. scissors for paper
3. glue stick
4. ruler
5  Sharpie
6. pencil
7. pins

I set them out on the table and then I picked a basic TNT to use as my base--that would be vintage Simplicity 3994:

Here's the bodice piece:

I traced the bodice piece already adjusted to fit me, on pattern tissue that I was never going to use--might as well put it to good use! :-)

On the traced pattern piece, I moved the side dart to the waist and combined it with the waist dart--you can actually see the side dart folded out and the waist dart opened up:

And then I turned my attention to creating the center front chevron darts. I wanted the first dart to be the functional dart. The other two were only going to be decorative darts.

At first, I did it all wrong! I marked where I wanted the center front darts to go, but when creating them, I cut them open from the center front to the other edge.

It created an unexpected pouf. That was never going to work, so I thought about it some more. I decided to cut the first dart open to the bust point, and cut the others to a point that would work design-wise. It turned out perfectly!

Here's the final--note that I glued tissue over the darts that I cut open. I also trued the slightly arcing waist line:

Here's the pin fitted sample (this is what made it apparent to me that I needed to true the waist line):

Here's a close up of the dart treatment:

It took me around 1 1/2 - 2 hours to do all of that drafting. It required concentration and focusing, and was actually fun! I actually enjoyed drafting again! It was a thousand times more interesting than simply altering a pattern. And it was quicker, too. If I had chosen to alter 6067, it would have taken me much longer than that.

I would say that my time drafting was time very well spent. I'm planning to use the pattern that I just drafted to make a nice navy blue dress--the fabric's from my stash. I'm sewing it right after I finish my Sunshiny Day 6 pak.

The next drafting project that I'm thinking about tackling is New Look 6000, the dress with the side waist radiants. That is another design that would be easier to redraft than to shorten at the waist.

Make this day a good one!