Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Orange Crush

You know how when you get a nice juicy orange, you just have to squeeze every last drop out of it?  That's kind of how I feel about some fabrics.  Sometimes, you'll get a fabric that is so nice, that you have to use up every last drop.  This orange knit was one of those fabrics.

Originally, I wanted to make a Fall "on the go" outfit with a tunic, cardigan, leggings and scarf.  I ordered 2 yards each of a black/tan striped silk/modal knit, an orange silk/modal knit, a black ponte, and a mesh from FabricMart Fabrics knit sale.  I was super curious to see what the silk/modal knits would be like; as I love silk knits for their brilliant colors and I love modal knits for their incredible softness, so the combination of the two seemed like a match made in heaven.  Plus, silk is known for providing warmth without weight, so I thought it could be a nice choice going into chilly weather.

When I got my order, I debated about whether I should wash the silk knits of not. They were GORGEOUS- silky soft and lustrous, just as I had imagined they would be.  I didn't want to lose any of the sheen. But I could just see myself spilling BBQ sauce on it the first time I wore it, so I bit the bullet and washed everything. I'm glad that I did because the silk knits did shrink about 12% in length. But the luster was still there! No harm done. 

 I was completely obsessed with the orange knit, but it was BRIGHT, and would need something that would ground it.  So, I envisioned an orange tunic, topped with a waterfall cardigan made from the stripe. 

I used Butterick 5789 for the cardigan and Vogue 1261- for the raglan tunic with a handkerchief hem.  I wanted the orange to peek out below the cardigan at the bottom for just a little pop of color.  I searched the Fabric Mart website for a fabric for the infinity scarf that would coordinate with the two fabrics, and found a wild rose/animal print mesh knit.  From it, I cut a rectangle 63" long by 18" wide.  To complete: sew long sides together, turn right side out, twist twice, then sew short ends together.  So simple!

For the leggings, I used the ponte knit with McCall's 7026.  You might wonder- "Why bother to make leggings when there are so many stores selling them?"  Well, they aren't all from this nice of a fabric. Plus, I've not found any RTW leggings that are long enough and not skin tight enough for my taste. By making them,  I get leggings that I'm comfortable wearing in a high quality fabric.

But wait- that's not the end of the story!  I had enough fabric left over for a BONUS OUTFIT!  I made a peplum top from McCalls 7021 and a basic knit skirt. 

I'd never made clothing from mesh knits before, thinking that they would be too thin, but this one was not see-through, and was easy to sew.   I'm thrilled with how completely different this outfit is from the first outfit, and I may even like it better!

But, it was the orange knit that I was obsessed with, and I couldn't let any of it go.  Actually, it was in the trash, and my husband forgot to take out the trash this week.  He never forgets to take out the trash, never!  Does that sound like a sign to you?  I was given a second chance.  I decided to sque-eeze out another top for my daughter, mixing all of the scraps together with McCalls 6992.  It's crazy, but she's quite adventurous in her clothing, and I can tell she loves it!

I still had enough pieces left to make a two sport headbands and two pairs of palm warmers for jogging.  The headband takes a piece that is 18" long by 10" wide- sewing the 10" sides together. This is the same as the Buff headbands that sell for a ridiculous $15 each. (Yes, I bought one, and guard it with my life, so now I won't feel so bad if I lose it.)

The palm warmers each take two pieces that are 7" wide by 8" high, sewing the 8" sides together, leaving a one inch opening in the center of the seam for your thumb.

By this point, my family was convinced that I'd lost my marbles; and during the palm warmer construction, the knit got stuck in my machine, which I took as a sign from the sewing gods that it was time to stop.

To recap- from my original order of 8 yards of fabric, I made 11 items- three tops, a pair of leggings, a skirt, an infinity scarf, two headbands, two pairs of handwarmers, and a cardigan!
I have virtually no scraps left of my orange knit (see above).   I got every last drop and enjoyed every minute of it. 


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Seamless (almost!) Chevron Cardigan Butterick 5789

I love it when I find a pattern that is so simple, that it's genius.

That's how I feel about Butterick 5789.  You wouldn't necessarily know that it's genius from looking at the cover, and based on how few reviews of it that I've found, I'd have to say this is a sleeper.  It's been out a while, but has gone under the radar of most of us because the cover photo was in a blah beige.

But believe me, if you want instant gratification, this pattern will give you it.  Why, you say?  What is so genius about this design?  Well, take a look at the sides.  No seams!

And take a look at the back- no seams! And they did this while only using two yards of fabric.

How did they do this?  Well- the front, back and collar are all ONE PIECE!  The only piece that is separate is the sleeve, and well, you do have a few seams to sew if you want sleeves.   But, you can choose the vest version too, and avoid those pesky sleeve seams. 

This is ideal for striped fabrics that are difficult to match like this chevron sweater knit.  You can still match the sleeve stripes to the body stripes like I did if you want, but you don't have too- NO ONE WILL NOTICE BUT YOU!  (I always have to tell my perfectionist sewing students to relax, and not sweat the small stuff.)

One caveat to this design though is that the fabric needs to stretch in two directions- that means both lengthwise stretch and crosswise stretch.  The reason is that the main piece is cut going the direction of the length of the fabric.  I was lucky that my fabric's stretch was going in that direction, or else this wouldn't have worked. So, be careful of this.  I've been tripped up more than once with tricky stretch issues.  However, the toughest part of this is narrow hemming the perimeter.   But the whole thing- cutting to finish takes less than 2 hours, which makes me a very happy customer.   

Do you have a pattern that is so simple it is genius?  If so, please let me know!   I want it, preferably on sale, and now, thank you!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween Costume Contest!

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Halloween is approaching fast - it's time to stock your candy bowls and perfect your costumes! How many of you have tried your hand at a homemade costume? At SewBaby, we want you to show us your home-sewn costumes during our Halloween Costume Contest!

Send us a photo of your home-sewn costume(s) either via email to or by posting to our Facebook page. Make sure to include your name and state. We are collecting photo entries until November 1st, after which we will post all of the photo entries here on our blog for your family and friends to vote on! Adult and children's costumes are welcome, and multiple entries are allowed. We can't wait to see your creations!

For those of you who haven't sewn any Halloween projects, we have a great selection of adorable Halloween e-patterns. Precious Patterns designs the cutest trick-or-treat bags as well as simple-to-sew costumes, from ladybugs to witches!  We guarantee- even if this is your first time sewing, you can do these!

Give some of these fun, festive patterns a try!

Left: Simple Ladybug & Bumblebee Costume; Right: Fashionable Ladybug; Bumblebee Costume
Left: Pumpkin & Dalmatian Costumes; Right: Princess & Witch Costumes

Halloween Felt Finger Puppets E-Pattern
Halloween Felt Finger Puppets E-Pattern
Happy Sewing, and Happy Trick-or-Treating!

Ann for SewBaby

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