Layers … It’s that time of year!

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Once again I am back with some Winter Wear Designs (WWD) creativity. Last month I made the Magnolia Fit and Flare Top & Dress. It was cold here and I made 2; a long sleeve tunic and a full length (keep the body warm) dress. This month I am using the same pattern to create a semi-swing cardigan. The weather has warmed up and we are suddenly in spring (or summer if you are used to cooler climates). Currently, I can wear the tunic until about 11am then change into shorts. Roll on summer! 

Magnolia – How do I hack thee? Let me count the ways … I can see why the pattern has so many followers; it is easy to play with and adapt to create several different looks. So much so, I now have quite a lot of pattern pieces cut from my tracing paper!! For those not aware Magnolia has a gazillion options (most of them documented on the WWD FaceBook group, or in the pattern itself. If you can sew with a knit fabric then it’s a great place to start sewing.

I didn’t want to recreate the Twin Peaks Cardigan, as it has it’s own attractions. I also didn’t want to print off another pattern – yes, my laziness kicked in. Hence, I made a swing cardigan. I cut the pattern to slightly below my hips, and the sleeves to 3″ below the elbow. I graded the side seams to have less of a curve between the waist and hip. After all, I wanted it loose enough to swing and not pull across my back. I added 1″ extra to the centre front then graded the V neck to meet the new edge. I sewed a little button as a closure; I have a larger bust didn’t want it to fall open all the time. I reinforced with  fusible interfacing behind my buttonhole – which still looks wonky, and across the shoulder seams to stop stretching. I serged all the fabric edges to stabilize it as much as anything, then attached a 1″ width of stretch knit as a narrow border. By the time I’d folded it to the inside it was the perfect width. My happiness factor was complete when I compared it to the Twin Peaks Cardigan and it is TOTALLY different! SCORE!!

I recently bought some lovely lightweight bamboo lycra fabric from a Canadian company, Water Tower Textiles. It is super soft, drapy, and wonderfully light. The perfect transition fabric – even if it was a real pain to sew. It is, however, wonderful to cut out with my trusty rotary cutter (and new blade!). The fabric is quite sheer and I can’t see me wearing it as a top without an under layer. I like paler fabrics for summer, but when I paired it with my WWD Omega top and an (old and) trusty skirt I felt the pale combination didn’t show off the cardigan. A quick change into a darker tank made all the difference.

Bloopers? Well, my twin needle sewing still isn’t very straight; I actually get a better result when sewing two single lines of stitching.  I ran out of my main fabric and used a very stretchy fabric for the border. I must have pulled this a bit as my seams are a tad wonky. A couple of pressings and they look heaps better but they aren’t what I’d like them to be. Why am I confessing to the oopsies? Well, recently someone commented that it’s good to read that we all make mistakes – and how we fix them. So expect to see this confessional section in the future.

Do check out the other stops on the tour and remember that all layering patterns will be on sale for 20% off all week (jackets/sweaters/vest)

Don’t miss out on any of the stops on the tour!
3/25
Patricia of Sew Far North
3/26
3/27
Kristen Guest Posting at Winter Wear Designs
3/28
Florence Guest Posting at Winter Wear Designs
3/29
Livia of Liviality
Aurelie of Maglice and So

 

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Sewing Myself Some Love …

This month being February the challenge was to sew ourselves some LOVE! I chose to make a Winter Wear Design Magnolia Fit & Flare Dress and Top (now referred to as the dress). I need some feel good dresses to lighten my load and brighten my smile. I think that fits the challenge? I wanted some swingy dresses that flattered without hugging the wrong bits, so made 2; one is a long tunic / mini and the other a maxi dress. The dress is fitted to the waist then flares out, there are 2 neck lines, different sleeve lengths, plus a myriad of other options, my favourite being the back insert. Added to which, there are now several add-ons including a cowl neck, cold shoulder, bell sleeve and lace hem. Honestly, stop making these all inclusive patterns! They offer way too much choice.

It was a time of firsts for me, as I haven’t done a full bust adjustment (FBA) in years. Frankly, it was long overdue (sigh); the FBA was recommended if you were over a B/C cup, and I’m a handful more than that – no choking on your coffee Marsha! I like Professor Pincushion’s You Tube Channel and so followed her FBA tutorial, utilizing the pivot method. It was surprisingly easy to do, and I thank my roll of tracing paper for making it easier. Adding it to the myriad of other alterations I make to any new pattern meant a few hours at the design table. I’d made so many adjustments I hadn’t enough confidence at that stage to go to final fabric immediately, so made a muslin, which turned out so well it became the mini.

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Lots of notes on my pattern piece make for easy memories

Stretch factor – you’d think with knit patterns that are loose and flows it wouldn’t really matter. Well, you’re wrong! It does, especially if you have a large bust! That’s why the FBA was all important. This pattern calls for fabric with 30% stretch. My mini fabric has 30%, but the maxi’s insert has 25% – Ho Hum, not as bad as it might be.

I made the the mini in a lovely soft brown knit, which sewed as well as it felt – Yee Hah! I cut the back on the fold (accidentally), but it didn’t end up roomy. I’m 5’9’/174cm tall and overall, I added 3″ from shoulder to bust, an extra 1.5″ bust to waist and then just lengthened the bottom to the longest shirt tail (I’m a WWD pattern size 12, I cut to a 22 length). It all worked out, which goes to show that trusting the pattern pieces and your math can pay off on occasion.

For the maxi I decided to go all out and make a glamorous just above ankle high low navy ponte dress with a turquoise ponte blocked insert overlaid with navy lace. Oh, and long bishop sleeves from a free pattern (if you join the Winter Wear Designs FaceBook group). I cut the size 14 insert to allow for the 25% stretch and a size 12 dress. The size 14 insert didn’t fit in the size 12 dress; there is a 1″ difference. I did some nifty grading, which went well after cocking it up once or twice. Thank heavens for oodles of tracing paper and a designer who doesn’t mind helping on those blonde (or senior) moments.

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Some canny grading ensues

Eventually I had all the pieces cut out and the sewing was a breeze. At least it was until I attempted to attach my neckband. I think the imps were messing with me as it took three attempts to sew the neckband on successfully. now it is sewn in place it is NOT going anywhere – ever! I decided to not hem the bottom. Call it laziness or the worry that the lace would spring up a little – which it did. In the final photos I saw I will need to trim the ponte just 1/4″ to have it sit above the lace again. I also found out the hard way that ponte likes either a damp cloth to press it or a silk heat. Parts of the sewing look like my brothers’ school trousers – somewhat pressed too much! I hope they’ll wash out.

All in all it is a lovely pattern and has a lot of options to allow my imagination to run riot. I think I will make the colour block option next for a 70’s feel … and some high low tunics. I’m actually so enamoured with this pattern if I get 20 comments on my blog by March 2nd 2019, I will personally buy a lucky winner the pattern. If you already own the Magnolia it can be exchanged for a different WWD pattern of equal or lesser value.

 

This week all the WWD patterns are 20% off (February 25 – March 2nd), so grab a bargain!

Don’t miss any of the inspiring stops along the tour:
2/25
Patricia of Sew Far North
2/26
2/27
Meriel of  Ellie and Nels
2/28
Aurelie of Maglice and So (guest posting at WWD)
3/1
Livia of Liviality
Diane of Sewing with D

 

Changing up the Pattern to Follow the Fashion …

Hackedy, Hack, Hack, Hack! It could be a song but its a sewing saying. By using parts of different patterns, I can recreate a look that I like without spending a lot of money on a new item of clothing. It also means I get the perfect fit!

WWD HackaThon

I’ve seen some lovely tunics coming out for fall. Papillon, a clothing company has several for sale locally. Being slightly not ‘normal’ shape or height they never fit me well, plus I gasp at the prices. Onwards and upwards. Winter Wear Designs has me rushing to make my version of this! I particularly love the pocket detail. Please excuse the partial (secret) photos. Most stores don’t really like people taking photos to hack patterns. Thought I am so pleased with my results I might just wear it in and show them!

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Nice cowl feature
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Pockets!

It’s a plain boxy tunic, but the cowl neck, accent buttons and funky pockets make it a bit special. I like short sleeves: I can add a thermal layer underneath as the weather cools off, or a 3/4 length for more coverage. I’ve been hoarding this purple plaid fabric. It is super soft and sumptuous and I was reluctant to cut straight into it. Then I remembered I’d bought it in a thrift store. All 3m for Can$8!! Yes, time to use this bulk of fabric up so I can unpack some more!

55 year old eyes and black thread on dark fabric make finding all the loose threads really hard. So if you see any, just let it ride! I also found matching the plaid quite difficult. Like the Little Engine That Could I tried and tried – well, I like it, so it will have to do!

The Refined Raglan is a pattern I was never sure about; I own one raglan tee – from a Metallica Concert. I don’t like round necks because I feel they accentuate my bust. This pattern is made for woven fabrics and I was sure it wouldn’t work for me. So why make it, eh? … That answer being you make it because the designer made it work with woven fabrics and it is a pretty versatile top. The raglan also gives a little extra space for the burgeoning bust! My pattern ‘hacks’ or alterations included:

Straightening off the bottom curve, then adding about 5-6″ to the length. I want to wear this baby with tights if I can, yet be modest enough for my age – getting older sucks!

Attaching an asymmetrical cowl with a feature button. I really like how this hangs and the fabric weight is brilliant for it.

Adding pockets with those feature buttons. It took a while to work out how to make the pin tucks so they fitted. I failed dismally in plaid matching, but then if they were perfect you wouldn’t see them, would you?

I made a template from paper and then kept adding pleats until it made sense (and looked ok). They’re just big enough for an inhaler or tissue.

Its currently 20c here (at 5pm) but the time will come for me to live in this tunic and be super comfortable.

If you are in doubt when wanting to change up a pattern just experiment. It might turn out brilliantly. If it doesn’t then you have learned a lesson. Ask questions and learn from those with more experience. Most of all have fun and keep sewing (or have someone else sew for you!).

This is the last day but check out what others have sewn up this week.

9/24
Jess of Jot Designs
9/25
9/26
Livia of Liviality
9/27
9/28
Patricia of Sew Far North

 

Not Quite Back to School – But Back to Sewing with Winter Wear Designs

Jeepers, is it already the end of August? Here in BC one of the  stores, Staples plays a Christmas tune “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” , in anticipation of students returning to school. I always laugh at the sentiment, then breathe a sigh of relief that my son is grown and independent. 40237848_10217626743560339_2790982315738660864_o

Regardless of the reason to sew, it seems the autumnal weather will soon be upon us, so I cut up some lovely brushed poly I had been hoarding to be a maxi dress. It somehow craved to be a tunic for the transitional weather.

I haven’t made the Cross Hem Tee before, though it’s another one of those easily sewn wardrobe staples. It comes with varying length sleeves; mine are 2″ longer than short, then I added a contrast band for a little extra weight. I added 2″ to the body length, resulting in a bum hugging tunic (winter warmth!). The cross hem is in a coordinating white fabric, which in retrospect could have been heavier as it tends to roll a little. I did debate double top-stitching but my needle had a divorce and believe me, unpicking burgundy thread from white knit fabric isn’t all fun and games – hence the wine – pardon the pun!IMG_1255

I really like that I didn’t need a full bust adjustment and there isn’t any  overt stretching over my bust. The pattern is made with negative ease (meaning the final measurements are smaller than mine), and I call this fabric ‘good day’ fabric. It is likely there will be days when all my lumps and bumps will show; not a good day nor a pretty thought. As such I will pick and choose when I wear this top. It is so supremely comfortable though that I’m tempted to cut the “huggly” bits a size larger to enable it for bad days as well. I’ve see it made it as a nightshirt paired with the Parisian Night Pants. Both patterns are free with codes found in the Winter Wear Designs FaceBook Group.

IMG_1263I can see several of them making it into my suitcase next month when we go on holidays. Let’s hope they all manage to come home with me!

While I am at the end of the Tour here are the links if you’d like to read back about the lovely things that have been featured this week.

Don’t miss out on any of the stops on the
Back 2 School Blog Tour 2018
 
Monday 8/27
Tuesday 8/28
Wednesday 8/29
Carrie of BeriBee Designs
Livia of  Liviality
Thursday 8/30
Diane of Sewing With D
Friday 8/31
Jessica of Jot Designs
Patricia of Sew Far North

 

Just Lounging Around Poolside …

Summer here in the BC Interior can be hot. Maybe not as hot as Southern California but hot nonetheless. We live at the top tip of the Mohavi desert and for this transplanted English Rose, it’s as hot as I want to get. It’s nice that summer patterns are, on the whole, simple and easy to make. This helps as I am sure my brain (along with the rest of me) swells in the heat! Talking of swelling, looser summer styles can be flattering if correctly cut to skim the curves other than cling to them. I’d rather look stylish and comfortable than like the back of a bus. IMG_0701

For this Winter Wear Designs blog tour I have made some of my essential summer clothes. I pretty much live in shorts, little tops and loose flowing dresses. There are some good prizes on the tour;  visit Winter Wear Designs Fun FaceBook page to find out more.

Most of my tops cover ‘my tail’, enabling me to wear them with leggings. As such I’ve been looking for a little top to wear with shorts and short skirts. Bring on the Trendy Tank. A bonus is that if you join the Winter Wear Designs FaceBook group it is a freebie. Even better! I had to adapt mine to exclude a side boob gap that seems to keep occurring on all my knitted tops. I have a bust (really!?) and unless a dart or full bust adjustment is included in my sewing I get gaps. It wasn’t a hard fix at all. I pinned it where I wanted the dart and then basted it in. When it was in the right place I transferred the markings to my pattern; then proceeded to alter a few other tops to boot. I kept this top short and am pleased at how it looks with my shorts.

Rolling on, these are the Essential Summer Shorts. Essential as they are easy to make, you can play with the pattern to your little heart’s contentment, and they come together really quickly. I recently performed in a Burlesque routine and wanted to make some Rocky Horror-esque gold lycra shorties. I simply sized down all over and Hey Presto! I actually attached them to a body stocking (read modesty stocking) for the show. I chose not to hem them as I didn’t want the stitching to show. Plus, let’s face it, sewing a tiny stitch with metallic thread is tedious and encourages me to reach for the wine bottle!! I think they’d make great swim shorts with a side ruche or drawstring. Time will tell.

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I also made the shorts in a lovely knit fabric that I have been hoarding for a long time. I only have a metre of it and making anything with that little fabric can be challenging when you’re 5’9″ tall. Not anymore. I made the shorts and might have enough for a little top too if I am careful.  For this pair I added a 3″ wide knitted waist band and some lace to the bottom. It gives me a little more coverage and they are so very comfortable. I need more as I keep washing and wearing them. Here they are with my Trendy Tank.

Finally I decided to add the Boho Breeze as a maxi dress to my collection. I actually had intended making it into a coverup but there are other patterns that lend themselves better to that (watch this space!). Instead I chose to combine a soft lightweight crinkle cotton with a lush soft bamboo print. I’ve been wondering how to use the bamboo without ruining its lovely design. Well here goes.  Himself, (the Man of the House), is my personal design and sewing critic. He bounds into my sewing room when he comes home from work to see what I have been up to. He will stand there, get ‘that look’ on his face, and totally unnerve me. I have been known to say, “be nice now, it’s come from my head”. Then he will make a good comment about fit, if it’s flattering, length and what might suit me better. I trust his style. After all, one of his chat up lines was “do you wear Valentino? He designs for women with curves” Yes, I married him soon after!IMG_0702.jpg

But back to the Boho! Summer swelling and being ill recently meant I’ve gone up a size; I am really glad I made a muslin! I sized up knowing that the top has an elasticated shoulder / neck band, meaning it won’t slip causing any boob exposures when I shrink again. I decided to use all of the bamboo fabric in my maxi skirt and didn’t measure it; it is rather voluminous. I made the pockets from the cotton but reinforced them with a lightweight interfacing. I also added a side slit to just below knee level. Today the wind was blowing while taking photos, resulting in the windswept ‘skirt wrapped around the legs look’.

One of Himself’s suggestions was to make the neck band from the bamboo; as a contrast but also as it is heavier than the cotton, it is more stable when elasticated. The man is once again correct. It looks lovely. The Boho Breeze can also be made as a romper or top and I expect I will get to those as well. I think it would make a good swim top too …

Pull up a lounge chair and a cold drink, and don’t miss a single stop on the Poolside Blog Tour:

7/16
Jackie Burney for Winter Wear Designs
Meriel of Elli and Nels
7/17
7/18
7/19
Diane of Sewing With D
7/20
Livia of Liviality
Patricia of Sew Far North

 

It’s a bit of a Romp(er)

I’m not a romper person, ask anyone. It’s too fiddly trying to get out of your kit to go for a pee. Plus, I don’t want to have my clothes drape on the floor in a public washroom. Let’s face it, as we get older our urge to empty our bladders gets greater. Don’t ask me to wear something that takes more than a nano-second to take off – please! IMG_0216

Or so I thought. This months stop on the “let’s revisit all the Winter Wear Design’s patterns” are showcasing the Riviera Romper and the Boho Breeze. Both patterns have the usual range of sizes and are advanced intermediate (mainly) knit patterns. ‘Intermediate’ and ‘mainly’ are used as there are options to change the patterns by mixing styles, and using knits with woven fabrics; if you use a flimsy fabric with a lot of drape it’s a bit more of a challenge to sew.IMG_0212.jpg

I chose the Riviera Romper. I liked how it sounded and love how Suzanne Winter, the Designer, names her patterns after her French influences. Both patterns have benefits and I really like the off the shoulder aspect of the Boho Breeze, but The Riviera Romper has an interesting back to it. So Romper it was! I chose to make it in an interesting lightweight floral knit from my stash. The top came together beautifully, then I discovered I didn’t have enough fabric for the shorts. Oops! I fortunately found some matt black fabric and put together the two seemed to work.

The pattern is designed to skim the bust, be loose at the waist, and have the enclosed elasticated join sit on the high hip. I felt a bit uncomfortable with that so made mine longer then sat it between hip and waist. I also added pockets (I do love pockets) using the same fabric I’d used for the top. I didn’t make my binding, but used a purchased 1.5″ wide elasticated binding for a quick cheat and time saver. It worked so well I made about 20′ of it while chatting with friends. The shorts are voluminous, but that’s a good feature here where it’s already 30c+ in the daytime. I like any breeze I can get!

The back tie is a nice feature but not an essential one. My husband tied me into the romper for photos. I wondered why the arm syces felt so tight until I looked in the mirror and saw the back tie was pretty snug. It wasn’t as tight as my corseted ballgown but you get the idea. Once loosened it was very comfortable. I wore it out to dinner tonight and had to show my friends the ‘low waist’ join as they didn’t believe it was a romper. Plus by looping the tie over my head I was able to drop it gracefully onto my thighs for the essential bathroom break. IMG_0215

 

All in all a success. I do hope you consider making it and if you do, you will enjoy wearing it as much as I do.

Don’t miss any of the spectacular rompers
 on the Romp On Tour!!!
 
5/28
5/29
5/30
 
5/31
 
6/1

 

All Things Small & Beautiful…

“All things small and beautiful, All quilts both great and small” … Not quite the correct words to the hymn, but the sentiments are there. This blog tour is also celebrating Tibeca (the blog tour organizer’s) birthday – so Happy Birthday Ti!!!30742404_10213173798634250_7586149616224043008_o

With birthdays in mind, this month’s blog is about gifts to sew. I have chosen baby quilts and quilting. Talking of which, I had better mail the latest baby girl quilt, or her mum will read about it here.

Quilting is about precision. If you can sew, you can quilt and vice versa. It took me a while to realize that where 1/16″ or a few mm doesn’t make much difference to a garment, it makes a huge amount in quilting. It is very satisfying when my corners are squared and line up nicely. I am quite a free spirit and love to free motion quilt. Once I settle into the rhythm of remembering to breathe, I slide my hands and fabric around under (what I call) the ‘jumpy’ or darning foot. Who darns still? Not me, that foot is for quilting! The secret is moving at a consistent speed and tension. That way the stitches remain the same size. I also put my feed dogs down for less surface tension, and reduce the pressure foot weight to 1-2. I don’t quilt as much as I would like too, but it is a bit of an addiction and leads to many UFOs (Unfinished Objects). Modern sewing machines have a plethora of pretty decorative stitches and I take full advantage when quilting.

I like making baby quilts. Actually I’d love it if queen or king size quilts came together as easily. It’s like making bread or baking; you get an end result really fast. I used to make baby quilts for my friends. Now it seems I am making them for my friends’ children and the women I have met on various sewing groups. I’m also currently hand quilting my ‘marriage quilt’. We have been married 16 years and the quilt has been in progress for almost 4 years. Ho hum, I digress. It will be a blog post on its own but here is a sneak peak.

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On the frame and quilting in progress

Sometimes I succumb to a pattern in a quilting magazine but there are so many free patterns out there that I try not to buy them, and Craftsy is great for them. When I have used a good free pattern I am much more inclined to buy one from the Indie designer. I quilt weekly with a group of lovely ladies and don’t think I’ll need to buy any patterns for a long time.

Quilts should look as good on the backs the front. This means they need careful placement when ‘sandwiching’ the layers together before you quilt them. Or a big mess can result with lots of pleats. Don’t ask me how I know this so well.

I sent a quilt to my newest littlest great-niece in England. I hope her mum, Sophie, likes it. Its the Easy Fat Quarter Quilt by Kate Henderson Quilts trading as Two Little Banshees. I didn’t use fat quarters as I have a lot of small pieces of fabric. It is very soft and girly though. Her sister, Katie, is having another baby in early summer. I already have plans for quilts and things to send. England doesn’t have baby showers like Canada does, so I shall have to show her with gifts from afar.

This is the Star Bright Free Quilt Pattern by SwimBikeQuilt Patterns. I think the lady who owns this website and blog is my kind of woman. This pattern was free, but might be a purchased item now. This pattern is one of my favourites; I think it would be great as a larger quilt (but I must finish my daughter-in-law’s quilt first)! Once again it is for a little girl. This little lady’s grandma sent me a photo of the bedroom decor, so I chose colours to compliment it. I hope she likes it. What I love is how the same pattern can look so different depending on the fabrics and colours used.

Learning new techniques is always fun. Recently I learned the McTavishing method of Free Motion Quilting. It totally appealed to me due to the fluid way of quilting that results in almost a dreamlike quilt. The nice thing is that you set your needle in place and then go from there. I suspect each result will be different and as such, it is open to a lot of interpretation. My small piece has been claimed by one of my soft toys as a duvet. If you look closely I have incorporated my name, my husband’s name, a butterfly, fiddle head, snail and umpty ump hearts. My girlfriend, Harmony has heavily hinted it would be well used to make her little ‘Puffin’ a jacket. Maybe … it would be fun.

That’s about it from me. I hope you enjoyed the rambling dialogue. Do read the other bloggers posts about gifts you can sew. You might be inspired to sew something yourself.
Sunday, April 22nd: Sewing By Ti (intro), With Love In Every Stitch, Sewing With D

23rd: Stitched By Jennie, Tales from a Southern Mom, Aurora Design Fabrics

24th: Sewjourns, Big Fly Notions, Sewing Blue, JOT Designs USA

25th: Sewing By Ti, Auschick Sews, Hazelnut Handmade

26th: Sewing With D, EYMM, Middle River Studio, Aurora Design Fabrics

27th: Our Play Palace, My Sewing Roots, Make it Sew with the Bear and Pea, Seams Sew Lo

Omega – the last Letter? No, the last Blouse (you might want to buy)

Omega – the last, the ultimate, the final letter in the Greek alphabet. So says Wikipedia. I suspect Suzanne Winter, Winter Wear Designs’ creator and designer might have considered her options when choosing that name. This pattern does have a ton of options AND a lot of different instructions to go with all those choices. But I have rushed ahead … so backwards we go …

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The Omega is a blouse with a soft Boho feel and a tunic option. I like that blouses are making a resurgence. I don’t wear t-shirts well and the very word blouse brings to mind soft, feminine and well, Me. I didn’t buy the pattern when it came out because I thought  I could recreate by altering a different pattern, which resulted with me looking like I had boobs enough to re-float the Titanic! When the call went out for a blog tour featuring the Omega and the Classic Shell I was eager to see where I’d gone wrong.

There are many options for the Omega including different lengths – and shirt tails, which I love! Yes, I am an 80’s New Romantic! I thought the Omega would be a fabric hog, but it’s amazing what careful pattern placement does. The pattern offers a variety of yokes and I think I could have fun here playing with fabrics and textures. There are clear directions throughout though I don’t recommend deciding to add a lace insert and a lined back keyhole yoke without reading the instructions fully fully. Or doing it with little time to digest the instructions, (or before coffee!). That could be a recipe for disaster!

I kept my blouse simple, sewing the standard yoke, cut to top length (nice to tuck in to a skirt but long enough to cover the bulges), and short sleeves. The sleeves aren’t quite a puff, but lovely and feminine. I am taller than normal so cut the top to the longest top length, as well as adding 1″ above the waistline. These are my normal WWD alterations. I wanted to cut the shirt tail, but fabric restrictions meant I ended up with a slightly curved back; not quite the tail I wanted but pleasing to the eye none the less.

I sewed the blouse according to my bust measurement (a Large). I debated on a full but adjustment (FBA), but the yoke is cut above the bust, leaving adequate space for my boobage to be concealed beneath the soft gathers. I am slightly larger in my waist and hips but stuck with the same size. It flows nicely over my figure and I feel, if not svelte, then slim and pretty.

 

Did I say I was sewing with the Devil’s fabric, the Oh So Pretty Chiffon? Ha! Of course not. Chiffon tends to shape shift and as such I try to cut it out as close to sewing it up as I can. I usually use pattern weights to hold fabric down, but in Chiffon’s case I pin or clip the living Bejesus out of it! I didn’t starch it, but did use a minimal stretch lace seam binding to prevent the shoulder seams and neckline from from stretching. It seems to have worked as I could barely get the damn thing over my head before realizing I hadn’t snipped the seams – whew!

It took longer to trace my pattern off and make my alterations than it did to make the top (well almost). I chose not to sew French seams, but did use my serger to ensure the seams wouldn’t fray. I recently bought a new machine; a solid Bernina. It sounds like a Daimler and sews a dream — even the Chiffon. Yup, Chiffon has so much attitude it deserves it’s name to be capitalized.

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The sky IS that blue

 

I had so much fun I decided to make another – but in sweater knit. I messed with the pattern and added a soft cowl neck and long sleeves. I made it into a dress by adding an extra 6″ to the length. Then I inserted a pocket, because who doesn’t love pockets!

The sweater knit is drapy and a bit more figure ‘hugging’ I stabilized the shoulders with clear seam binding. It is horrid to sew and melts if pressed but it works! The fabric weight pulls down the armsyce. It’s still loose despite increasing the seam allowance.

I added a lace trim over the bodice to cover the fact I sewed it together wrongly. It looks good, but the lace is a bit heavy for the fabric (now there is an oxymoron!).

I mainly constructed this on my serger with reinforcements and fiddly curves on my machine. It is a quick and easy sew – even more so the second time round.

Suzanne will link how to do alter your pattern for knit fabrics during the tour.  this during the Blog Tour.

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The Omega is on sale during the blog tour; The Classic Shell is always a bargain at US$5.

Do read the other Bloggers. There are tutorials, ideas and prizes to be won. Thanks for stopping by and go sew yourself some goodness!

Check out each stop on the tour:

 

Pretty in Pink with Valentine Memories …

Welcome to the Red, White & Pink Blog Tour, and thanks Tibeca for having me along. It’s convenient that one of my sewing groups is also asking, or is that encouraging, us to sew lace this month. As such I made a “Pretty in Pink” dress with lace trims! I like lace: it’s pretty and feminine and is a lot less Itchy & Scratchy than it used to be. I still own the dress I made for my 18th birthday. It’s a cream lace dress over an iridescent blue /purple underdress.  Sadly it doesn’t fit anymore. It is very 80’s and I love it still.

February is a lovely month. because my Sister’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day, and my Uncle Val’s name always reminds me of love and good things romantic like. I dedicate this blog post to them both, but don’t have photos of my uncle. Happy Birthday Chrissie!

But onto the sewing … it’s a pattern hack of another Designer Stitch Pattern, the newly released Synthia blouse. As a tester I made this soft, feminine, romantic top. I love the early Chanel feel of the blouse, how it skims over my lumpy bits yet holds a feminine form. I thought it would make a lovely dress. Oh, it’s also still on sale!

The Synthia blouse is easy to make. I made my top in the shorter length to wear with a skirt. Of course, that is why I am wearing it with leggings in the photos. Go figure! I do like tops I wear with skirts to be shorter than those I wear with trousers.  I made a slight sway back adjustment, which means I pinched out the excess fabric from the back waist to stop it looking like I had a back fabric ‘Joey pouch’. My muslin went on and off without undoing the zipper, so I left it out; and oh the ruffles! The ‘Waterfall’ ruffle is ingenious! It seems a bit disconcerting until you have it all together – then the lightbulb moment occurs and its, “Wow! This really is clever”.

I cut the bodice at waist length for my dress. It would have been a good idea to check the length as the back was about 2″ shorter than the front! A carefully placed extra piece of fabric and hey, no one knew … until now. I didn’t want to spend the time double roll hemming the ruffle and bottom hems, so serged the fabric edges and then sewed the lace on top of it – all 5.5m of it!! I didn’t realize the lace was directional and if you look closely you’ll see that it is one way on the ruffles and upside down (or is that down side up?) on the skirt hem. I’m happy with the result. It’s certainly not a store bought dress!

I copied the lines of a Hot Patterns Casbah Skirt pattern, which made the skirt a quick and dirty affair. I omitted the zipper again, but should have kept it as my DD cup makes it harder to take off a dress than a blouse!

Finally I made another Obi belt, the same belt I featured in my recent blog post. I sewed loads of fancy stitches on it to give it a bit more substance, but should have interfaced it! Syn Obi belt

Photos were interesting. It was blinking cold outside at our local Riverside Park. A lady asked me if I was determined to catch pneumonia while we were traipsing around.  OOPS! We eventually decamped in doors. I paired the dress with one of my favourite hats and some retro looking shoes. All in all I feel glam in a very comfortable dress.

If you like to sew your patterns and need some support with hacking them I encourage you to come on over to Sew Your Pattern Stash FaceBook Group. Our resident Sewing Wise Woman, Roberta, is hosting (and posting) a pattern hack month-long-sew-along. It should be fun and I hope to learn a lot! See Marsha, there were hiccups and errors aplenty on this one! It’s why I am a good seamstress but not a pattern designer. I leave that to the other talented people.

Thanks for dropping by. I hope you had a good read and it made you smile. Please check out the other blogs on the tour …

Let’s get inspired!

February 1st: Sewing By Ti (intro),  Mahlica Designs

2nd: Sewing With D

3rd: Sewing With Sarah

Sunday, February 4th: Tenille’s Thread

5th: My Heart will Sew On

6th: Kathy Kwilts and More

7th: Stitched By Jennie

8th: EYMM

9th: With Love In Every Stitch

10th: The Bear and the Pea Atelier

Sunday, February 11th: Our Play Place

12th: My Sewing Roots

13th: Margarita on the Ross

14th: Very Blissful

15th: Seams Sew Lo

16th: Sew Sew Ilse

17th: Aurora Designs

Sunday, February 18th: Sewing Scientist

19th: Manning the Machine

20th: The Fairy Dust Bin

21st: Hazelnut Handmade

22nd: Kate Will Knit

23rd: Lulu & Celeste

24th: Flaxfield Sewing

Sunday, February 25th: Twinado Alley

26th: Ma Moose

27th: Auschick Sews

28th: Oak Blue Designs

Designer Stitched … With Love to Me!

I’m back on the New Year New Sews Blog Tour, this time to tell you about my shenanigans with a new pattern.

I find it interesting how PDF designers name their patterns. Some choose places, some random names and some, like Designer Stitch and Muffin Head Patterns name their patterns after friends – and sometimes their pattern testers. This vest is called Ilse after a lovely lady, who sews a dream and writes a good blog too!

Where I live in B.C. fabric is expensive; especially double sided fabric. After looking at the $54/m fake suede price tag I decided I needed to be a bit more creative about what I used for a new Designer Stitch Pattern, The Ilse Vest. I bought a double sided fleece blanket and pondered on quilting it. I traded some headliner (automobile fabric that I use as a stabilizer in bags) for a half deer skin. It’s lush and soft, but I worried I’d mess it up. Then I saw a piece of upholstery fabric I’d been hoarding. It is pretty and interesting and said “choose me!”, so I did.

This pattern, like all the Designer Stitch patterns, calls for faith on the part of the seamstress as the process can be a bit befuddling. One muddles along then reaches a stage of sewing and, Hey Presto! it all comes together beautifully. Ann Gross, the designer is a sewing teacher, sewing wise woman, and effusive in her praise to her merry band of testers. If you haven’t tried a pattern then do; they really are worth it.

I cut my regular size based on the pattern measurements but added 2″ / 5cm to the bottom band; my standard height adjustment. I wanted to cover my bum, and stop the chill getting to my kidneys – as my mum would say. I chose to fray the garment edges, which is a pattern option. I thought it would be easier. Well, it was and it wasn’t. The good part was not having to turn the narrow belt ties, find the corners and make them sharp. The bad part included it looking like a fluffy toy massacre in my sewing room, the lounge and anywhere else I was fraying fabric.  ‘Himself’ was quietly in the background vacuuming up after me whenever I moved. Bless the man! He gets it from his father.

It took longer for me to trace the pattern from my master copy and make my adjustments than it did to sew it. Honestly! Each part fit together with all the dots and dashes meeting where they were meant to. I loved that the frayed version has four pieces. The more finished / faced version has a couple more but its still countable on one hand.  The vest closes with either a purchased clasp (I think a frog clasp would be pretty), or the included Obi belt. I was a bit anxious about making the Obi belt as my fabric is heavy, so I decided not to try to turn the narrow ties. Instead I folded them in three then secured them together with a pretty stitch. It looks interesting. The beauty of the Obi belt is that it gives the illusion of a waist even if you haven’t got one. It is also an extra layer of warmth; much appreciated in the Great White North.

I decided to double stitch the edges that frayed. I’d already sewn a narrow stitch on the  arm holes, and was concerned they’d pull more fabric than intended. I allowed the same allowance as was indicated for each seam, and used a pretty variegated thread. It came out really well and had the added bonus of not fraying into the fabric by accident.

Once I had finished I looked at it and thought, ‘Oh, I could have made it reversible’. It was one of those Doh! moments. I can’t be bothered to unpick the serger seams (serged to prevent them fraying where I didn’t want them to!), but I might cover the offending seams with  pretty bias tape or ribbon and wear both sides anyway.

To read what everyone else made follow the links below … and Happy Sewing!
Monday, January 1st: Introduction- Sewing by Ti


Sunday, January 7th: Minn’s Things


Sunday, January 14th: Sew Like a Sloth

 

Sunday January 21st: Flaxfield Sewing


Sunday January 28th: Sew Haute Blog