Dreamy Cat Bed Simplicity 8284



I have two cats- a brother/sister pair that are 13 years old.  I've been ordering cat nip filled mice from The Creative Mind on Etsy for the last few years for their Christmas presents.  These are awesome by the way!  Very durable and way better catnip than the toys that you can buy at the big box stores.

But, I saw this pattern from Simplicity last year, 8284, that got me thinking that I could sew a little homemade something for them this year. 

Bell Sleeve Tops- Butterick 6486


For my next pair of woven fabrics in my First Frost Wardrobe capsule, I decided that I needed to wave my hat to the current crazy sleeve trend, by making a couple of bell sleeve tops.  I had two very lightweight fabrics with great drape- a patchwork synthetic blend, and a silk crepe de chine with a burn out velvet border.  Doesn't that sound good enough to eat?

Butterick 6417 Suede Finish Blouses


I've gotten quite a good start on my First Frost Wardrobe Capsule.  I decided to start with the woven blouse fabrics, because sometimes I lose steam over the course of making a capsule, and the woven fabrics are always the last chosen, and thus often orphaned!  So, to start, I chose two sueded polyester blouse fabrics that I had recently picked up from Fabric Mart.  One in a dusty teal, and the other in a dusty rose.

First Frost Capsule Wardrobe Plan


I woke up one morning this week to a beautiful frost all over our back yard.  It was just breathtaking, and I wished later that I had taken some photos.  Later, I was looking at color palettes to inspire me for sewing, and I found this photo on colorpalettes.net that was speaking to me.   If you're looking for inspiration, this is a wonderful resource. They have hundreds of beautiful images broken out into individual color palettes.  I could spend all day looking through them.

My New Winter Coat with McCalls 7485

Hello everyone! Fall is my favorite time of year, and every year, I can't wait to make a new coat. There are really only so many styles of winter coats available in the stores to choose from, so making your own gives you the opportunity to find that special style or color that really fits you.


Last February, I made some mauve colored dresses, and I realized that I had no coats that looked nice over them. So, I was on the hunt for something in the purple/brown colorway, and as usual, FabricMart had the perfect fabric- a wool tweed that was a mix of plum and black with some orange flecks. If you think that you are seeing some purple in my hair, don't adjust your monitor- I have dyed my hair lavender! So, this fabric also complements my new hair color.

Vogue 8344 Caponcho


What do you get when you combine a cape and a poncho?  Why, a caponcho, of course!  I've been holding on to Vogue 8344, which was originally published in 2006, for just the right fabric.  I can't tell you how many times, I've pulled out this pattern, and then put it back!

DIY Lavender Eye Pillows


I went to a yoga studio last week that ended the practice by having you lay down with a flax seed eye pillow scented with lavender.  It was so relaxing, I really had a hard time staying awake!  The yoga instructor said that the weight of the flax seed in the pillow stops your eyes from moving while your eyelids are closed, which helps to relax you.  Plus the fragrance of the lavender makes you breathe deeper, furthering the relaxation even more.  I thought, I really want one of these at home!  I went to Amazon to buy one, and the pretty ones were as high as $18 each.  So, I knew that I could whip one up quickly for a fraction of that price!

Starting a Sewing Club for Kids



Sharing my love for sewing is something that I am passionate about. For the last 5 years, I’ve organized an afterschool sewing club for 5th graders at a local elementary school. This has been so much fun and so rewarding that I thought I would share with you some of the things that I did to get it started, and some of the things that I’ve learned along the way.

End of Summer Dresses with McCalls 7565


I hope that you've had a lovely summer!  I know that it's almost over according to the calendar, but I'm nowhere near done with summer!  It's been perfect weather here, and we're enjoying every last drop of it.  So, in the spirit of summer, I decided to make a couple more sleeveless dresses, even though I know that the clock is ticking on the time that I can wear them.

Silk Taffeta Pillows, Table Runner and Bias Dress



I love making pillow covers!  It's one of the first projects that I use with beginning sewing students because it is just so quick and rewarding.  And if you're like me and you constantly want to redecorate, changing pillow covers is a relatively low cost and easy way to bring a fresh look to a room.  Much more acceptable to hubby than new furniture or painting!


This time I was working with a very large plaid silk taffeta from Fabric Mart.  Since it was a large plaid, my first project with it was to make some queen size pillow shams.  They are the plaid ones in the back of the photo.  I also made the two printed ones in the center from a home dec fabric that I had in the stash for a while.. 

Casual Summer Shorts and Tops


I hope that you are having a great summer!  Here in the northern hemisphere, our summers can get really hot and humid, so everyday clothing that is lightweight and loose fitting is ideal.  I really needed some new tops and shorts that I could wear while doing housework, running errands, and just day to day stuff.  After picking out fabrics from Fabric Mart's awesome cotton selection, the first thing I did was to search for the perfect shorts pattern. 

Another Cold Shoulder Look with Butterick 6462

Summer is flying by so fast!  I can't believe that it is mid July already.  I have accomplished a couple of major things sewing wise- I bought a coverstitch machine, and after letting it sit in a box for 3 months, I finally got up the nerve to open it up and figure it out.  I don't know why I waited so long!  It was really pretty easy, and I've been sewing up a storm since.  The second thing was that I replaced my leaky iron.  Another thing that I don't know why I lived with it for so long, but now that it has been replaced, I feel like I am sewing in luxury and am sewing in peak condition.  Kind of like an athlete with new shoes getting a burst of confidence!

But, this particular project was the last one that I made before the coverstitch box was opened.  After my first foray into the cold shoulder look with a knit in my last post, I decided to dip my toes even further, this time with a pattern designed for a woven fabric, Butterick 6462.




This is one of Butterick's Lifestyle Wardrobe patterns where you can make the same design in dress, top or jumpsuit formats.  Don't you just love options?  I chose to make View C, which is the long version of the top. 


As far as woven blouses go, this one was really quite simple.  The neckline, front and sleeves are all finished with a combined front and back facing, like you often see with sleeveless dress patterns.  Here you can see the nice finish that this gives you on the shoulder.


It's collarless, and I think that the gentle curve on the neckline is very pretty.  You could easily make this a sleeveless top, as the facing continues under where the sleeve is added. 


I did do a full bust adjustment, round back adjustment and forward shoulder adjustment, but left the length alone.   I will definitely be making this again to make the time spent doing those alterations worth it!  You need a fabric with some nice drape, and this is rayon challis- a very soft and drapey fabric.



Even though this is long sleeved, it's still pretty comfortable in the heat because it is so loose and airy.  I think that the jumpsuit is an interesting possibility, but you'd have to find just the perfect bottomweight fabric that still has some drape- probably a crepe would work.

In other news, I've finally opened up an Instagram account!   I've been hesitant to do so, but I am trying to not be such an old fogie, and keep up with the young-uns.  I have yet to post anything, but if you have one and would like to connect, my account is Sewbaby11.

I just love this fabric, and I still have another couple of yards left to do another project with. Any suggestions?  

Happy Sewing!
Ann

Cold Shoulder Knit Dress Butterick 6425

When the cold shoulder trend started, I laughed and thought, I will never, ever get on that bandwagon.  Hahaha!  Never, say never!  As I kept seeing more and more bloggers making cute versions, I finally decided to try it out for myself.


And the verdict is.....I love it!  I used a animal print rayon knit, and Butterick 6425. This has lots of views, and mine is a hybrid between the dress body of View B, and the sleeves of View C.  I also angled out the bottom of my dress a couple of inches to make it more like a swing dress.   Rayon knits have a horrendous tendency to show all of your lumps and bumps, and I thought this might help reduce that.

Summer Sleepwear McCalls 5769



What could be better on a June day than having breakfast outside in your favorite pajamas and robe?  Enjoying the sounds of the birds and the wind in the trees.  Ahh... bliss. 


When I think about how much time I spend in my pajamas and robe, I realize that I get more wear out of them, than any other items in my wardrobe!  I made these summer pajamas two years ago, and have worn them out, so it's time to make a new set!  I wanted something super light and airy, and all natural fibers, so I chose an embroidered cotton voile for the robe and shorts, and a dusty pink linen knit for the top. For the pattern, I used McCalls 5769, a now out of print pattern, but a good one if you can find it.



Let's start with the robe. This is a really basic pattern with dropped shoulders, a tie, pockets and a band. Super simple, and even a beginner could make this.


I used a narrow double fold bias tape in light blue all around the front band, pocket top, and cuffs.  This is actually much easier than piping.  You just put it over the edge and stitch in it place.  One package was enough for the whole robe.


You can see how unique this fabric is- the flowers are almost painted on like a watercolor, and then they are outlined in a chain stitch embroidery. Really soft and pretty!


I always use a lightweight interfacing in pockets- it stops them from stretching out and eliminates any show through on a thin fabric.


Next, on to the top. The pattern was designed for woven fabric, but I had a knit, so I used a size smaller than I normally would take, and that worked well. I had a small roll of stretch lace that I had purchased for a different project and it wasn't the right color for it. Imagine my delight when I saw this fabric was a perfect match for this fabric!  So, I used it on the neckline and hem. 



I used two strips of Lite Steam-A-Seam 2, which is a double sided lightweight adhesive to adhere it, instead of stitching. After you remove the paper backing, it's clear. And a nice bonus, it serves as the hem edge, so I just made sure that the lace covered up the lower edge.


This fabric was very stretchy, and without any lycra for recovery, so I knew that stabilizing the neck edge was going to be a challenge.  I fused a small strip of 1/4" wide interfacing to the back neck edge.  I decided to line the bodice front and back for modesty, as the fabric is also quite sheer.


For the underarm edge that wasn't covered by the sleeve, I used a single fold bias tape, folded to the inside, which also stabilized the armhole.



I had just enough fabric left over from the robe to make a pair of shorts to match. Since the fabric is so lightweight, I only needed 1/4" wide elastic at the waistband.

I also made a test garment out of a white cotton knit to make sure that the top pattern was going to work for me.  It turned out pretty well too! On this one, I sewed on strips of lace around the neck and just under the bodice. Then, I also used the ruffle piece at the underbust, and used a lettuce edge finish.



I wish that I could tell you that this was fast, but it was not!  These details do take some time, but they also elevate it to something nicer than your standard sleep shirt.


I really love my new sleepwear set!  Because the fabrics are so lightweight, it will be easy to pack up and travel with too.


It's going to be tempting to wear this all day around the house. I would never be able to find something that I liked even half as much in a store, which is just one of the many reasons of why I love to sew!

Happy Sewing!
Ann 

Burda Style 3-2017-124 Maxi Skirts


I love maxi-skirts!  They let you really show off a beautiful fabric.  Although there are lots of patterns available for maxi-skirts, you'll notice that many do not have pockets.  I don't know why that is, as pockets are so essential!  When I got my March issue of Burda Style magazine, I couldn't help but notice this skirt in the plus section:


The line drawing showed that it was a simple design but with a few features that I find desirable: pockets, a combination drawstring and elastic waist, and long side slits.  I find that a combining a drawstring with elastic helps you to cinch the waist to just the right snugness.  And side slits help you to move freely and provide extra ventilation on warm days.  So, even though these are small details, they can really make the difference between whether you end up wearing an item or not!


I made this pattern three times out of different fabrics from Fabric Mart for their Summer Skirt Challenge- one ITY knit, one rayon gauze, and one french terry knit.  My first one was this ITY knit in a tropical leaf pattern that I got in one of the pre-cut fabric selections.  My first piece from this fabric is here.  I think that large prints are great for maxi-skirts.  This skirt version is the dressiest one of the three that I made, and I can definitely wear it to work.  


When making it, I discovered that the slit was really high!  I moved it down about 4", so the slit would only go to my knee level, not thigh level.



My next version was out of this Kaleidoscope Blocks French Terry.
French terry is much thicker and more like a sweatshirt fabric, so I wasn't sure if it would have the appropriate drape for a long skirt like this, but I decided to try it anyway.


I centered the blocks and matched the dark stripes at the sides.  It's really comfortable, and great for a cool summer night, as the french terry is much warmer than the ITY knit.


My last version of this skirt, and probably my favorite of the three is made from a striped rayon crinkled gauze (sorry it is sold out!).

This one was also the most challenging as the crinkled gauze tended to stretch out of shape very easily.  That made matching the stripes at the side seams particularly challenging!



To stabilize the pockets so that they wouldn't stretch and grow,  I stitched 1/4" wide twill tape into the pocket seams by feeding it along the seamline when serging.


So, the pocket ends up looking like this picture below.  Now, even if I put my phone in my pocket, it won't stretch out of shape.


The waistband is a separate piece, which at first I thought was not necessary, but then I realized, that is how to create the opening for the drawstring.  Sew the short ends together, leaving an opening at the front, like this:

Then, after attaching it to the skirt, feed both the elastic and drawstring through this hole, eliminating any need for a buttonhole or eyelet opening.


Do you know what they call the little ends of shoelaces that keep the cord from fraying?  They are called "aglets".  You can purchase these on Ebay or Etsy, but a quick little way to make your own is to just wrap a short piece of scotch tape around the ends. After wrapping it a few times, just cut the homemade aglet to whatever length you would like!


I'm pretty sure that this won't be the last skirt that I make from this pattern- it goes together so quickly, and can be made out of woven or knit fabrics.  It does take quite a bit of fabric though- I would allow 2-1/2 to 3 yards per skirt.


These photos are all taken in my garden- which is my other obsession, especially this time of year!  I love flowers, flower arranging, and just getting some fresh air after a long winter. 

Happy Sewing!
Ann