Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Adding to My Pattern Stash and I Get To Blame My Husband!

I have a pretty extensive pattern stash and love to find new additions to it when I get a chance. I admit to feeling guilt and anxiety when I contemplate adding to it. Do I really need another dress or skirt pattern? OF COURSE NOT!  Knowing this, I try to temper my purchases.  This past weekend, my husband suggested a day of resale shopping! We hit several stores just for the heck of it and in the last spot before heading home, I hit a mini-jackpot!

When I entered the store, I asked if they had sewing patterns and where I could find them. The sales associate did not know what a sewing pattern was. DID NOT KNOW WHAT A SEWING PATTERN WAS!!! I explained it and he went to "see". I was skeptical they had any and was about to leave when my 3-year old had to use the restroom. After leaving the restroom, the associate found me to triumphantly reveal 2 baskets of patterns! They were $.50 each! Here are my finds:

Nope, I don't need a wedding dress. If I make it to Round 4 of the Sewing Bee, who knows what we will have to make!

Maybe I want to be Serena Williams for Halloween! Who am I kidding?! I am definitely built closer to Venus.

That jacket with those sleeves are so adorable and dig those pants!  

After the blouse challenge, I am open to making more.

I am in love with that tunic! I plan to make a hand-sewn version using my flower stencil.

I enjoy a turtleneck top.

Again, great pants and jackets!

Okay, I cannot explain this one!

I really like this simple halter dress. I love that it is a single piece front and not a separate bodice and skirt.

Again, wonderful pants and look at the contrast jacket in view C. I love the turned up cuffs!

Again. I cannot explain, but I think I like the blouse.

I really like the simple neckline that can be worn a few ways.

I have my doubts, but...

I am not a big fan of midriff tops as a rule. With a high waist maxi skirt, view B will be great.

Love those pants. wide legs, no cuff.

Cannot explain, I think I like the blue one...

Always need a simple knit dress with an obi belt.

Okay, so I can only defend some of these :) Others are pretty awesome right? Let me know what you think. Which do you think are keepers and which makes you say jeepers? 

Happy Sewing,

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Leather Contrast Jacket Using Simplicity 1070 PR Sewing Bee Round 3

So here we are at Round 3 of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee, the lined jacket challenge. Grrrrr! When I think of jackets, I recall my days of meeting with lawyers, VP's, and members of law enforcement in my job as a University Dean of Discipline. I have hung up my Kasper suits and not looked back. This challenge unfortunately,  immediately got me thinking of clothes I rarely wear.

Given the time crunch, I hit the ground running and got off to a rough start. I made the beginnings of two jackets, one I will complete. I decided to switch my plan up in favor of Simplicity 1070.

The body of the jacket is made with a brown double knit. The contrast is leather repurposed from a skit in my stash. I bought it for $.25 at a resale store. The lining is a leopard print polyester knit, also from my stash.
I cut the body of the jacket out and began construction.

I thought I had two D-rings in my stash, so I did not buy them when I bought the pattern. On step 2, I could not find them and had to improvise. I found a leather tab and buckle closure that I removed from a damaged purse in my leathercraft stash. I thought it would make a wonderful design element while maintaining functionality. I trimmed it to fit and was delighted to see it work. In addition to following the pattern instructions, I stabilized under the buckle on the knit side with heavyweight interfacing to support the weight of the closure.

The construction required the use of two sewing machines; one for leather and the other for the knit. I switched between the two as necessary to save the hassle of changing needles and adjusting the machine settings. Additionally, I like the look of the longer stitch length that is achieved on my leather machine. It mimics the stitches of the pieced leather from the skirt. 

For the lining, I found a leopard print knit tucked away on one of my sewing shelves. I did not buy this fabric on purpose. I likely, bought it in a bundle at an estate sale or resale store. I did not remember I had it and it was a happy surprise to find it. It is similar to that of the pattern envelope. I wanted a fun lining to add some pop to the inside and add contrast to the cuffs when rolled up. You can read about the lining process in the complete Pattern Review here.

I really like the versatility of looks that can be achieved with this one. My version is a subtle contrast, but imagine the drama of a stark contrast. I am not likely to do this, but  consider the possibility of wearing it lining side out.

So we are at the round I was eliminated in last year. I can really say I do not know what the judges want. There is no feedback on why someone is eliminated or advances. We are not privy to the judging rubric. If you make it to the next round you don't know it you were number 2 from winning the round or one shy of being cut. This round says "lined jacket" no closure needed. It is a strange balance between having creative freedom and uncertainty. Say a prayer for my nerves as I wait.

Happy Sewing,

Friday, September 25, 2015

Ridiculously Easy Skirt in Ankara Dutch Wax

While waiting to  hear the results of the  PR sewing Bee round 2 (I did not win, but did advance), I needed a palate cleanser. I recently got another order of some Ankara Dutch Wax fabric and decided to play around with it.

I used Simplicity 1664 to try the skirt in a length I do not normally wear.
The skirt has a high wide waistband that I liked.

This was a very easy and a fast sew. Start to finish, this took about 1.5 hours including cutting time. I added six inches to the length and made a long sash to increase the width of the high waist. The sash doubles as a head wrap.

I am glad I made this. It was fast to make and allowed me to test a style I normally would not wear. I do not think this is my style of skirt. I think a mod, shorter silhouette, or a floor length maxi is more flattering for me. I would have liked more fullness in the skirt and think pockets are never a bad idea in a skirt. 

Skirt with belt tied in back.

Do not get me wrong, I wore this all day and was pretty happy with it. I am looking forward to styling it differently to make it work in the future. This fabric comes in six yard lots; I did not mind using it as a muslin for this pattern. I have enough left to make something that is more "me" later. 

Do you make tried and true garments or do you branch out to test new styles? 

Happy Sewing,

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Make The Fabric Your Own: PR Sewing Bee Round 2

So I have advanced to Round 2 of the PR Sewing Bee. The challenge for this round is, to "add surface embellishments to existing fabric... then make a garment out of the fabric(s) that you embellished." We have 10 days to complete the garment, photograph it and write the review. Obviously, hand embellishing a jersey knit garment is the first thing that came to my mind. 

The time crunch is a limitation, but if there is a round for me to do well, it is this one. I decided to make a reversible "Texas Springer" ;p cardigan using Mccalls 6844. I have made this twice before, so I did not have to cut the pattern or worry about fit issues. I decided to use a stencil I used once before to future save time. I decided to combine hand-sewn and machine sewn elements to add texture and interest.

I immediately got to work on my airbrushing, cutting and stitching. I have been sewing in every free moment of this week! I am ahead of the deadline and oh so tired! I have a long list of "must dos" to tackle, so I had to hustle on this one. 

I  used navy blue for the exterior, light blue for the reverse and green and white for the interior reverse applique exposures. Don't miss this, I used two colors under the blue! This is completely new to me and I have not seen it done before anywhere else (granted, I have not been looking), but isn't it AWESOME?!

The main base layer is green and the white areas are achieved with circular inserts placed strategically behind some of the pointed flowers. I then machine stitched them in place before adding the green layer. This layer is secured by hand-sewing around the flowers before cutting the centers out.  

With all of the loose thread ends from the hand sewing, the inside needed to be lined. I decided to make the cardigan reversible. I added an applique feature to the reverse side along with exposing the seams and cutting a rag texture into them. 

Just as cool on the flip side.
Applique on the reverse side.

A little shoulder interest.
 I have written a full review for the contest, that can be read here.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Improve Boring Wovens with Reverse Applique

Waiting, waiting, waiting! So we are waiting to find out who advances and who
has won the first round of the PR Sewing Bee. While I have a few “must sew” 
commissions that I am working on, I needed a creative break and decided to 
try a reverse applique process on woven fabrics using an out of print Muu-Muu 


I “made” my fabric to transform my fabric. I used a boring grey (I am from the Bahamas and this is how we spell it) colored cotton for the exterior of the dress.  I stenciled a design on the top fabric using blue metallic fabric paint. 

Once dry, I basted the cut fabric pieces together, wrong side of solid to the
right side of the print. I machine stitched around the shapes using cobalt blue
topstitch thread and an open toe foot.

I toyed with adding accents of white embroidery floss around some shapes. Given the style of the pattern, I decided it did not improve the overall look I was going for.
I am very excited with this result.


Such a pity to have to remove the middle painted areas. It is my fault for being lazy and not airbrushing, I used a pump spray with a less precise nozzle. 
Let it dry before removing the stencil.

Once all stitched, I cut away the middles leaving a little of the painted fabric along the edge. This revealed the blue, white and green Lissette print fabric beneath.

Cutting with extreme caution.

Reverse Applique Dress in Woven Fabrics.
I really like the fun of this neckline.
I sort of stitched it up per the pattern instructions. It had a lot of ease and was a bit more paper baggy than I liked. I took an inch from the sides and added back darts to adjust the fit. I reversed the opening to the back so as to not interrupt the pattern on the front. I made a ridiculously long tie for the back. I sometimes get dressed alone find a long tie easier to work with.


I left the back plain for contrast and speed.


Did I add pop to the drab grey or what?
Close up of shapes.

I had such fun making this! I was not sure how it would all work. I am thrilled with it! This was a test for future sewing exploits. I am still tweaking the process and have not washed it yet and am curious and excited to see what happens. I plan to make test other shapes, patterns and variations.  As I do more with it, and use different fabrics, I will keep you posted.

Happy Sewing,