Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Give-Away Winner

The winner of our Thanksgiving Giveaway is Lorie S!  Thanks to everyone that entered.  We'll be having another giveaway later this week, so watch for details!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Zigzag Chiffon and Reindeer Tunics


Hope that you all have had a great Thanksgiving and have found some great Black Friday deals!  I've done a little shopping, but I really couldn't wait to get back to sewing the rest of the tunics in my sewing queue.

I used Butterick 5355 and a silk chiffon from Anna Sui for this zigzaggy tunic.  This pattern is so easy.  The neckband is finished with single fold bias tape.

I love this fabric.  It has bands of black, white and light green on each side of the aqua/forest green.   With careful cutting, I was able to get the sleeve zigzag print to line up with the front and back.  So comfy!  I'm sure I will make this pattern again.


And for tunic top #4, I decided to get in the holiday spirit with this reindeer silk/wool gauze from Anna Sui.  At least I think it is a reindeer.  I can't be sure, as there also seem to be giraffes on the same print.  This was a really unusual fabric.   It had two panels to it, but each were too short to be a skirt or top by themselves.  I decided that Kwik Sew pattern 3676 would be a great base for this, as the front and back pieces have the cap sleeve attached to it, so I wouldn't have to break up the print to add a little sleeve.  I used the shorter length without the band, to make it tunic length. I also cut the neckline a little deeper so that any t-shirt that I wore underneath it would show.   Here is the result!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Give-Away!


Question?  What can I sew that
A.  Uses up my fabric scraps
B.  Makes great gifts for teachers, friends and family.
C.  Doesn't take forever and a day to make
D.  Let's me be creative.

Answer:  Fabric Bowls!!!

Leave a comment on my blog about what you are making for the holidays (doesn't have to be sewing- it can be food, scrapbooks, mix CDs, etc) , and you'll be registered to win a copy of this book.  The randomly picked winner will be announced on Monday, November 30th!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tunic Top #3- Khaliah Ali pattern


For tunic top #3 (my husband is calling them tuna tops, BTW), I chose a Khaliah Ali pattern, Simplicity 2634.  If you aren't familiar with Khaliah Ali, she is the daughter of Muhammad Ali, and fashion designer of plus size clothes and patterns.  She's collaborated with Simplicity patterns to produce a really great line of plus size patterns.   I graded it down to fit me, as I thought the design was just great, and it wasn't available yet in the misses size range.  The top has a belt and pleats under the bust.

For the fabric, I chose a silk chiffon print from Anna Sui   It wasn't difficult to work with at all.  I have several silk chiffons that I'd been avoiding, thinking they would be hard to deal with like the polyester chiffons that I"ve worked with in the past.  Not so.. this pressed easily and sewed like a dream.  It took about 3 yards of fabric, at $6/yard so with pattern and bias tape included, this is about a $21 top.

I did make several changes to the pattern to make it quicker and easier to sew.   First, I eliminated the facings, and bound the neck edge with single fold bias tape.  To do this, I changed to order of construction, so that the center front seam wasn't sewn up until the bias tape had been applied.  I also cut the back piece and lower front piece on the fold  There didn't seem to be any reason not to, and with my sheer fabric, I wanted as few seams as possible.
I'm really happy with the end result. It works great with the turtleneck for winter, and equally good with a cami for warmer weather.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tunic Top #2- Art Deco Print


This is the second of my tunic craze.  This one is made from Butterick pattern 5388.  I made view B, but with View D sleeves.  I used a polyester burn-out from Anna Sui.  I usually avoid polyester, but I really love Art Deco Prints and loved the colors on this one.  One end of the fabric was this swirl of aqua and blue satin, and that is what I made the cowl from.  The other end was the border that you see at the sleeves and hem.
 I did do a 1 inch full bust adjustment, and I didn't have enough fabric to cut the cowl on the bias as recommended, so I cut it on the straight grain and it was fine. 

Here is a closer picture so you can see the pleats at the neck.
I've tried it both belted and unbelted and can't make up my mind which way to wear it.  Any opinions?

I really do like this pattern, and would definitely recommend it.  I think it is fantastic for sheer fabrics.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tunic Top #1


I've started making tunic tops for several reasons
A.  They are easy- no buttons, no zippers, just pull over the head.
B.  They are almost like dresses, but since I hardly ever have an occasion to wear a dress, I can use a beautiful fabric as a tunic and actually wear it!
C.  They are easy to fit.  In fact, it's hard to go wrong, as they are usually designed to be loose fitting, so as long as you get the size right in the shoulders, the rest is pretty much in the bag.
D.  You can wear them with a turtleneck underneath for cold days, or a cami underneath for warm days, so you get your money's worth!

This top is Simplicity 2690 view D.  This is a very nice basic tunic/dress pattern with a empire waist seam that uses elastic.  I used a silk velvet burnout fabric designed by Anna Sui.  It starts out as a light green at one selvedge and graduates to a black at the other selvedge.  Really a stunning fabric, and I wanted to make sure that I had a pattern that would show the full gradation of color. 


The pattern went together so easily, until I got to the belt.  It would have been easier with a fabric that wasn't quite as thick.  You basically need to sew button loops on each end that will attach to 3 buttons at the center front of the garment.  My fabric was way too thick for button loops, so I used black ponytail holders cut to the length that the pattern specified.  The belt is cut on the bias and then gathered to give the pretty pleating effect.  The problem with bias cuts is that no two fabrics ever behave the same on the bias, and this one stretched way to much.  I ended up taking off 4 inches, and it is still too big, but since I know that I'll want to wear a turtleneck underneath it on chilly days, I decided to leave it a little loose.

Here is one more shot of Illinois farmland in my backyard.  This is the first of a series of tunic tops.  They are like potato chips, you can't stop at just one.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pumpkin Latte


I found this nice surprise on my kitchen counter when I came home one day this week.  It is a Pumpkin Latte made by my daughter Serena, who works as a barista at a coffee shop in town.

I was struck by how sweet the "mama" written on the side was.  It got me a little choked up because she turns 19 on Friday. 

When I was pregnant with Serena, I craved anything pumpkin, and she has been crazy about anything pumpkin since she was born.  So, her family nickname is Pumpkin.   She is truly a delight and makes my day in so many ways.

Happy 19th Birthday, Pumpkin!  (And thanks for the latte!)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Green Goddess Coat





I've got a thing for green- particularly teal green. But, I don't have that much in my wardrobe to reflect that.  I've been collecting fabrics with this color for a while, and now have enough to sew a coordinated wardrobe with teal, black and silver.  There is a contest going on at Patternreview this month where you can win a $175 gift certificate for the best mix-and-match 10 piece wardrobe.  Although I can't finish by the end date (11/30), I am going to participate unofficially.   This jacket is my "topper".  It is McCalls 5987


This is a quickie to make because it is unlined.  There really isn't much too it- sew the shoulder and side seams, sew the sleeves together and attach the scarf.  Narrow hem by machine, and voila, you have a coat! Here is the back view.

I chose this jade green boucle wool and it is extremely warm.  It ravels like crazy, and I wish I would have taken a photo of the floor after I was done sewing it.  It looked like I had sheared a sheep! 





You can wear the scarf wrapped around you or just loose.  Here is a side view with it unwrapped.  I had originally added 2 inches to the coat because I'm tall, and just do this automatically.  But I ended up cutting off the extra length, so if you are a petite person, I think you'd need to significantly shorten the pattern.  It also had no closure, and I added a coat hook and eye at the center front, just in case it is a windy day, like when we took this photo!

Overall, I'm happy with the pattern and the way it turned out.  It is a LOT of green, which will take some getting used to.  As long as I tone it down with black, I think it will work though.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Striped Fall Jacket


My sister-in-law's birthday is October 26th, and I promised her I'd make her a jacket for her birthday- 2 years ago!  Better late than never right?  That's my motto.  Debbie likes to dress casual- lots of jeans and t's, so I wanted to make her something that would fit in her wardrobe. This is me wearing it.  Last time I measured her, she was about my size.  She lives about an hour away, so we'll find out at Thanksgiving if it fits her.

I had this heavy weight striped wool from Fabric Mart Fabrics that was a steal at 3 yards for $5 last year.  I wanted to find a pattern that would show off the stripes, and I found this McCall's 5937 that uses the bias.  You can really see it on the back.  The only alteration I made was to lengthen it a couple of inches. 

The pattern doesn't have a closure, but includes a pattern for a tie-belt.  However, my fabric choice was so thick, that the belt just looked bulky, so I opted to add a single button and buttonhole.

I like how how it turned out!  I'll probably try to make myself something out of this pattern, but I'd definitely recommend a lighter weight fabric.  But, if she doesn't like it, well, I know someone who it fits just perfectly:)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Winter Coat Sewing

Welcome to my first Blog!  I'm sew excited to be able to share my personal sewing adventures.

My latest project is a winter coat.  My daughter is cold all of the time.  Even in the summer sweltering heat, you’ll find her bundled up in a sweater.  She started bugging me about making her winter coat in July.

We picked out a beautiful double faced wool melton in Royal Blue.  That in itself should be warm enough, but for the super cold-blooded, I decided to line it with quilted Thinsulate.  In the past to get extra warmth, I’ve done an interlining of flannel and then a flannel backed satin lining, but that is twice the work cutting and sewing, so the quilted Thinsulate sounded like a time saver.


She chose Simplicity 2812 for the pattern, which is one of the Project Runway patterns.  It has a pretty gathered collar that she can either wear up or down.  Here is a picture of the collar down.  The only problem with the pattern is that the pockets are really small.  I do understand why- they are inserted in the princess seams, and so that they don't cross over into the button area, they need to be small, but she won't be able to put anything but her hands in them.   

She picked out random gold buttons from my button collection which makes it completely unique. 

I think she can wear a variety of scarves with this color blue and still look nice.  She says that it is the “best coat in the world”.  Can’t get any better than that!
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