Saturday, March 29, 2014

Estate Sale Treasures

On my previous post Fourkid commented that I should look for a Singer 201 machine to sew leather. I read her review, took her advice and did a quick search online and found an estate sale that was selling one. I did not find the listing until 4:45p.m. on Friday evening and the sale was ending at 5. I planned to be there when does opened at 10 a.m. on Saturday and made it. Unfortunately, the machine was gone already sold to some fortunate soul. I was sorely disappointed, but decided to look around and see want other offerings were available.

I found these vintage patterns.

Little Miss wants an Easter dress.

Love this Maxi Dress with double sleeves!

I love the shorts romper. Is it too young?

I love the collar on that cape.

Summer is coming!

Oh, I love view 2.

View 2 here

Umm, cannot explain what I love here, but look at those sleeves

Okay, omit the bolero, make a sleeveless maxi dress with an ultra wide tie belt in front. Use a solid  top and print skirt.

This maxi dress will take some size adjustments but I will give it a try.

I have not made a swimsuit yet, but this one will be the one.
In addition to those patterns, take a look at this hand-stitched appliqued skirt. 

It is made in India and tells quite a story. Look at all the wonderful workmanship that went into this.

I think the fish pond is my favorite section.

The best treasure of the day was meeting Rhonda and Donna of Blue Willow Estate Sales. These ladies were such a delight to talk with. We talked about sewing, quilting, and pursuing ones' passions. Sometimes you meet people and you know they are kindred. If my hubby hadn't taken the kids to the car and a line wasn't forming behind me, I could have chatted with them all day.  
I did not find my dream sewing machine, but all in all, I would say was a great day!

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Making leather dreams come true

I have mentioned before that an industrial sewing machine is on my wishlist. I have a heavy duty machine that has served me well for some projects. I have successfully added leather handles to my  Beautiful Belle Bag, but I want to do much more. I have a stash of thrifted leather jackets that I hope to repurpose in many ways. My virtual friend Hilary at Entropy Always Wins has an industrial Juki machine and has begun to sew with leather and I am so jealous. She makes awesome stuff and her bags are drool worthy.

In an effort to calm my jealousy while I wait for the right machine, I decided to make a bag with the machine I have. I thought a simple tote bag would be a good test to see what I am up against.

I chose view A and a jacket from my stash. In my haste to get started, I neglected to take a before picture. Here is a picture of a similar jacket.

 Here is the  completed bag



I sewed it with heavy duty needles for sewing leather and broke two of them. The needles broke when I was top-stitching the lining to the body of the bag. I ended up starting and stopping at the bulky areas and not stitching through them. Beside that issue, with my roller foot it was fast and easy. I lined it with fabric leftover from these pants. 

Initially, I wished I would have applied interfacing to the lining of the bag to give it more structure. I was uncertain about how the machine would do with the added layer, so I did not. The bag is floppy when empty, but holds its' shape when full. It is a perfect library bag. I can put it in my purse when empty and fill it when I need too.

I am not sure I will make this again. I am testing patterns and styles to use the thrifted leather. I have many other styles to t try.

Happy Sewing,

Monday, March 24, 2014

My new "go to" dress is Simplicity 2054

So, you may remember I was auditioning dresses to wear to an early spring wedding.  After many days of the "I have nothing to wear" feeling, I called the bride and asked about the schedule for the festivities. The service was to start at 8:30 a.m with a breakfast reception to follow. The remainder of the day was full of casual activities ending late into the evening.  I imagined kid corralling all day long and knew I needed a dress that would take a beating and still look good. After considering that we would have driven 10 hours with our two kids, I decided simple, comfy and stylish was the way to go.

I decided on Simplicity 2054         

I liked the large Cowl in view A and the split sleeves on view C. I went stash shopping and found two cuts of fabric that I thought would look great to make one of each. Here is the review of the pattern with photos. 

Pattern Description: Misses' knit dresses and cowl - collar sewing pattern, Cynthia Rowley Collection.
Pattern Sizing: H5(6-14) R5(14-22). I made view A and C in the 8. I find CR patterns tend to run small for me. I usually cut a 10 in Simplicity but a 12 for CR. When I pinned the cut pieces to my dress form I found it too large. There is too much ease for my liking. I reduced each seam by 2 inches and cut the second to an 8 and found it perfect for me.

The sides are not stitched here, but you can see how big it is.

I removed two inches excess on each side.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the simple construction of the dress. The option of the cowl elevates the style factor. I wore the black and white version to a morning wedding with jewelry, heels and the cowl and it worked great. For the remainder of the day, I wore it without the cowl and flats for a comfy dressed down look.

For view C, I find the exposed elbows a bit silly. I thought it was a fun detail, but now that I have worn it, it seems rather pointless.  I made it with soft heather knit so it does not stay open. With a firmer Ponte knit it may stay open and be more of a style detail.

Fabric Used: A black and white Ponte knit for view A. A heather knit from Joann’s for view C
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:   I stitched the sleeves in flat for both dresses I lengthened View C by 2 inches, but kept A the same.. I was short on fabric for the cowl on View C, so I made a basic rectangle cowl with the fabric I had.

Basic cowl from scraps
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I find myself reaching for this dress over and over. It is easy to wear dressed up or down. The Ponte Knit version is my first choice. With no ironing needed it travels well. We are in transitional weather in Texas, so this is great with tights and boots or without in flats.

Conclusion:  Off to make another. It is great for beginners.

Happy Sewing,

Friday, March 21, 2014

Poncho/Cowl Redo

When you write a Sewing Pattern Review, one telling question about the pattern asked is "Would you sew it again?" Unless it is completely unique or unnecessarily confusing, I usually say I would make it again. I am a pattern hoarder (yes, a hoarder, I can soften it with a euphemism, but why lie to you and me?), so I always have something else I want to sew and rarely remake a pattern. 

Awhile ago I made Mccalls 6658 and wrote about it here


My sister liked it so much that I gave it to her and never got around to making a replacement for myself. I decided I needed a funky top to throw on with jeans, and this pattern came to mind. The suggested fabrics for this pattern are lightweight fabrics with drape and flow. I decided to stray from that suggestion and make my version using a stiffer fabric for an architectural look. I purchased this fabric at an estate sale last year and I believe it is a polyester knit that feels like gaberdine. 

I made this top with no adjustments beyond my fabric choice. Here are my photos of the completed top and review of the pattern.

Mccalls 6658

Poncho style

In a pinch, a rain hood?

I like the length of the back.

Cool, like the other side of the pillow.

Pattern Description:
Pullover tops. A: Armhole bands. A,B,C: Close-fitting, neck bands. D: Very loose-fitting, reverse construction finish on neckline, front and back cut-in-one, narrow hem, openings for arms and wrong side shows on back hemline. Loose-fitting shorts or straight-legged pants have elastic waist. E: Attached tie. Designed for A,B,C,D: moderate stretch knits only; E,F: medium weight woven and knit fabrics.

Pattern Sizing:

XSM-Med This is for view D I made a size small.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes, if I sit like her I guess. I don't think the single image shows the wearing options.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, though I had to turn the radio off at points to be sure I concentrated. Transfer all of you markings carefully. If you follow the pictures and read carefully, you will do fine.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I had no dislikes on this one.

I liked that this top has a more architectural look with a firmer fabric.

I like the scoop hem in the back and the straight hem in front.

I like that it can be worn as a cowl neck top or a poncho.

Fabric Used:
A polyester knit from my stash that I purchased at an estate sale.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?


I really like that this top it has sleeves that are short enough to not get in the way and just enough warmth when you only need a little. If you use a firmer fabric, it may be hard to carry a shoulder bag as the fabric feels bulky when you gather it on the shoulder.  

Happy Sewing,

Monday, March 17, 2014

Flounce Instructions for Burda 7225

I made this asymmetrical,  one shoulder dress and wrote a post and review about it here

I put it together rather quickly in an attempt to enter it in a contest on sewing pattern review. Alas, I did not get it made in time (stupid 18 minutes late:P). I added a flounce to the neckline of the dress to reflect one I liked. When I made it, I drafted it part freehand, part with my French curve and in a hurry. Becasue of that, I did not explain how I did it in my previous post. In my review of the pattern, I had a request to explain my process in detail.

To be honest, what I did would not make sense to explain now, so I  remade the dress with a flounce that one could replicate.  


This flounce addition assumes you are using Burda 7225 and Mccalls 5579. I will not outline the steps in their pattern instructions here. This is a supplement to the Burda instructions. Here we go!
To begin, I followed the steps 1, 2 and 4 of the of the original Burda 7225 pattern.  I went back to step 3, installing the zipper, after I added the flounce do not do it now. Next, I pinned the dress to my dress form ; you can lay the dress on a flat surface if you do not have a form (do I need to suggest you make mine?).

I took a look in my pattern cabinet and found Mccalls 5579, a dress with a neckline flounce that can be modified for this dress.


I took pattern piece number 6 from the Mccalls 5972 and cut it to the largest size in my range which is 14. I then matched the wide end of flounce to the underarm zipper area and pinned it to the top of the dress across to the stitched shoulder seam. I folded the end over to mark the front length and took it to my fabric on the cutting table.

Fitting the flounce to the neckline.
I tucked the excess under and folded the narrow end back to the notch and placed it on the fold. This will open out to cover the front and back of the neckline. I made it slightly longer (about 1 inch) than needed to be sure I had enough to go around the neckline.

Cut the flounce on the fold

I cut the flounce and pinned it to the top of the dress beginning at the zipper seam. (I did not hem my flounce because of the the type of fabric this is. I made a narrow hem on the other dress. If you need to hem your fabric, do it before pinning). I continued pinning, adjusting the drape as I went along. I pinned it loosely so it maintaines the flow.

Pin flounce beginning at zipper. Pin wrong side of flounce to right side of dress.

Continue pinning flounce around back.
Baste flounce. I continued to step 3 and installed an [invisible] zipper on top of the flounce.

  I continued with steps 5 and 6 to add the facing.
Pin facing to top of flounce right sides together. Stitch

Trim facing to reduce bulk in the seam. Turn facing to inside and press.

Stitch facing to the body of the dress keeping the flounce free.
I stitched it the way you see in the photo above, but it is more efficient to do it with the facing up. When you do it, flip it over and keep the flounce free.

Facing stitched to the body of the dress with the flounce free.
The flounce is now done! I continued with the rest of the pattern instructions. I hope this is clear and you can now make your dress with the added flounce too. Feel free to ask if there is something that is not clear. Please pop back and let me know if you have made a dress too; I would love to see it.

I enlarged the armsyce on this dress because it is too small. I cut the pattern this time instead of cutting the dress like I did last time. If you make this adjustment, remember to increase the length of the armhole facing you will use later.

That is all for now.

Happy Sewing!