My Image & Young Image Magazine Spring/Summer 2012

 Good news!  We are excited to announce that you can now pre-order the new Spring/Summer 2012 My Image and Young Image Magazines!  They are coming all the way from the Netherlands, and we can't wait!  So, if you are dying for summer outfits and want to get started sewing something fabulous, order your copy(ies) now!  You can be assured that we will send your magazine(s) out as soon as they arrive to us. 

You can see the Instructions included are in English, German, French and Dutch.  There are no illustrations in the instructions.  These are master patterns which means that you need to trace them to preserve the original.  You will need to add seam and hem allowances to the patterns.  The sizes for women include European sizes 36-44, and for children 80-164 (approximately 18 months- youth size 12).

Here is a link to the fashion shots in this issue My Image Spring/Summer 2012.

Anne Klein Pants Vogue 1200

The holy grail is..... a GREAT FITTING PANTS pattern.

What seamstress hasn't searched high and low for one.  It doesn't seem to be so much to ask, does it?
Yet, it has eluded me for all of these years- until now.

YES!  It's true! I think I found the perfect pants pattern for my body!  It is from Vogue 1200- an Anne Klein pattern.  The ONLY alterations that I made were that I lengthened it and lined it.   Need I say more?  
Pants Back
I used a stretch wool gabardine for the outside, and a silk crepe for the inside.   It doesn't call for a lining, but without one, you would have seen the outline of the pockets a little too much.    I've never made a full pants lining before, but it wasn't hard at all.  I read up about it in Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing book, and she recommended that you sew a smaller seam allowance in the lining, because it doesn't have much give.  I cut just the front and back pieces out of the lining, one inch shorter than the outer fabric.  I sewed them together except at the center front, then attached the lining to the waistband facing.  Once the waistband was attached, I cut out the fly area of the lining, and just slipstitched it around the fly.

Fly Front
Here are some close up views of the details.  The pattern has a real fly front, and a very nice faced pocket.  The directions were great.  Both of these features took some time, but I have no doubt they were worth it.  These pants just feel luxurious.    I am definitely going to be using this pattern again. 

Faced Pocket
This is the LAST project that I'm going to get in before the end of the Fabric Stash Contest at  I made my personal goal of 20 yards, which seems like a lot, but some entrants have sewn 75 yards!  But I'm quite satisfied- since January 1st, I've added a skirt, a vest, a jacket, a top, a blouse, a scarf, a dress, a cardigan, and finally these pants!  Not bad for one month's work.

Next up- something for Valentine's Day!

Marci Tilton Jacket Vogue 8693

I was on such a roll the first 2 weeks of January, thanks to the Fabric Stash Contest, making 4 items, that I decided to tackle my most challenging project in the third week, while I still had plenty of time.  It's a good thing I did.  It took me a while to make this one, and I'm not sure I'd have the energy had I saved it for last!

Instead of the Butterick coat that I had planned, I made a last minute switch for Vogue 8693.   It's a Marci Tilton design, and this is the first one of her designs that I've made.  Lot's of people rave about her patterns- lots of neat angles, loose fitting and comfortable.
So, this jacket looks pretty simple on the face of it. But it is definitely an unusual design, and I had to concentrate on this one. My boucle fabric that wanted to ravel itself silly added to my challenge.
Lining with the points cut out.

The original jacket pattern only has you do a partial lining.  My fabric was a little on the thin side, and with Illinois weather, I decided it would be better to line the whole thing.  After it was done, I could catch glimpses of the lining in those points in the front.  So, I basically cut out a 8 inch triangle of the lining just in that area, and straight hemmed it across.  

 The collar is just awesome.  It is really nice and full and high.  You can see it here from the back.  I wouldn't need a scarf with this jacket. 
Single Welt pocket
Button detail

The single welt pockets were tricky and I'm sure that I didn't get them exactly right, but they are functional.   I used a girls' pony tail elastic to make a loop for an extra large button. 

I did add 1-1/2" to the length, and added a little extra width at the side, which I wouldn't have needed.  It's a loose fitting pattern, and even with a DD bust, I don't think I would have needed any extra room.  I also made a full bicep adjustment to be on the safe side.  I hate tight sleeves in jackets.

I like it!  The one problem that I've already encountered is that I can't wear it with prints.  I tried to walk out the door today with this jacket and a polka dot dress. I just happened to glance in the mirror, and realized it looked ridiculous.  But if I wear it with solids, I think it will work.  What do you think?


National Thank Your Mentor Day

 January is National Mentoring Month and January 26th is National Thank Your Mentor Day. 

I would like to thank my Mom, Barbara Atkinson, for teaching me everything that she knew about sewing, and encouraging me to follow my spark.  I have no doubt that it was difficult at times, if not most of the time. In addition to teaching me for nearly ten years:

-She would sit with me for HOURS in the fabric stores when I was picking out my 4-H projects.
-She would spend money on fabric and patterns for me that she could have spent in many other ways.
-She would rip out my sewing mistakes so that I wouldn't have to, and she would console me when I didn't win a prize in the 4-H contests.
-For my college graduation present, she gave me my first Bernina sewing machine (better than a new car to a sewist!).  

 Did you have a mentor?  For sewing, or life in general?  Feel free to share your story here!


An Easy-to-Sew Layered Look

My easy to sew layered look- infinity scarf, shell and cardigan.
I love silk charmeuse and silk chiffon! But sewing them can be a real pain.  So, in a compromise, I decided to sew the simplest things possible with them.  Forget about set in sleeves, collars, etc, and go for a pullover top or an infinity scarf.  Leave the tough stuff for fabrics that are better behaved.
Top from McCalls 6519
I've had this crazy animal print silk charmeuse for a couple of years.  Since I bought it, I've often wondered why.  It's garish, it's loud and not "me".  Yet, for some reason, I love it.  Now with animal prints being in fashion, what better time to sew it up!

I chose McCalls 6519- a really basic shell.  I would normally have to do a full bust adjustment, but I had enough fabric to cut it on the bias, which gives it enough stretch that I could get by without one. I did add some length to the body, and used a self-fabric bias binding instead of the recommended bias tape.  I love how this simple top fits and will definitely be making it again.

While perusing my stash, I noticed that I had a 1-1/2 yard cut of ombre silk chiffon that had the same colors in it.  Hmmm...  How about an infinity scarf?   I just sewed the long edges together into a tube, twisted once, and then sewed the short edges together.  Voila!  A designer scarf in 30 minutes.  I have to say- silk chiffon is warm when you have 1-1/2 yards wrapped around your neck!  This is not just a pretty scarf, it's really practical as well.

Cardigan from Simplicity 1945
Unbelievably, I did not have a sweater or cardigan that looked good with this combination, so back to the stash I went, and found this caramel colored boucle knit.  I love a waterfall cardigan, and decided that the cardigan from Simplicty 1945 would round out this look. 

Most of this I got on the cheap- 2 yards of the boucle knit at $2/yard from, the ombre chiffon was in a free mystery bundle,  2 yards @$9/yard for the charmeuse, so a total of $22 for fabric, and probably $4 for the patterns.  So, $26 plus a few hours of my time is the cost for this look.  And I can wear all three pieces with lots of other pieces as well!

This is one of those days that I'm glad that I have an extensive fabric stash.  But I'm also glad to be sewing it up! I want my stash to be functional- just big enough to find what I need, but not so big that I let fabrics go out of style before I can sew them up.

How about you?  Do you have a stash, and if yes, is it a source of inspiration or frustration? 


McCalls 6161 Dolman Sleeve Dress

I wanted to make something warm and snuggly for my daughter who loves to wear dresses, and I found this great fuschia and grey sweater knit on the clearance section at Joann's.   I think I paid a whole $3/yard for it! 

I chose McCalls 6161 because I wanted something easy to sew, and carefree to wear.  This fit the bill.  I didn't have enough fabric to make the cowl the full size, so mine is quite a bit smaller than the original design.
The whole pattern is only three pieces- the front, back and cowl.  Sew the side seams, sew the shoulders, hem the raw edges, and you've got a dress!  The cowl is just a tube that you sew the ends together.   It truly is a one hour pattern.
I just saw it on Clearance on the McCall's website, so if you'd like this style, grab it before it's gone!
My daughter's already worn this a few times, so I will probably be making more of this one. 

Lace tunic from Simplicity 2195

I cleaned my sewing room yesterday.  This was no easy job.  I'm a truly MESSY sewer, who goes from pattern to pattern, without ever putting away anything.  If you ever wonder how I can whip out projects so fast, this is the reason- I just throw things over my shoulder and never look back.

Eventually I reach a point where I can't find something, and I say "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!", and I break down and pick stuff up.  This happens about once a month.  What a bad example I am.  New sewists, please don't sew this way!  Look how pretty my sewing room is when it is clean.  I should keep it this way always.

Anyway, in the cleaning, I actually found a top that I made, but never wore from December!  WOOHOO!  At least I got some reward for cleaning!

This top is from Simplicity 2195, which is another Khaliah Ali pattern.  I am a HUGE fan of her patterns.  They always include multiple items and are trendy, but still flattering if you don't have *uhhum*"a perfect figure".  For this one, I wanted to make the handkerchief hem tunic. 

I had this really cool piece of striped black and cream lace fabric that I just couldn't quite figure out what to do with it.  It was a little too scratchy to wear right next to my skin, so I decided to cut out the shirt pattern twice- once out of a black ITY knit for an underlayer, and once out of the lace.  I just sewed them together at the neckline, and then turned one inside the other.  Both of these fabrics are knit and won't ravel, so I decided to not hem either layer at all.  (Talk about LAAAAZY!)
My cat Maddie studying the hem.
Because of the weight of the black ITY knit, it hangs a little longer than the lace one, which I like.  I like the length of the top.  It is actually quite heavy, which is good for now, as it is cold outside.  I think that I'll have to cut out the black underlayer and just wear a cami with it if I want to wear it when it warms up. 

I would like to make this pattern again in something with better drape.  It isn't specifically designed for knits, and I think I'd like to use a silk charmeuse or chiffon next time.  I'm also going to put the vest on my list- I think it is super cute.

Thanks for reading!


Thinkin' Spring in January

All of us at SewBaby are daydreaming of fresh blossoms and pretty blue skies...But since it's only January, we have to pretend it is spring!  Good thing we got these new cotton prints by Maywood Studio to help us make believe!  Wouldn't these fabrics be great for so many different projects?  Dresses?  Skirts?  Table cloths with coordinating napkins?  What about some cool curtains?  Or a SewBaby double duty bag?  So many possibilities!


Chic Soft Blouse McCalls 6512

It's January 15th and with this project under my belt,  I'm done with 4 of my 8 planned projects for the Fabric Stash Contest!  Woohoo!  Right on track.

This is McCalls 6512.  It's designed  by Melissa Watson, who is the daughter of Pati Palmer.  Pati Palmer is one of the authors of Fit for Real People, which is a fantastic fitting reference book.  It was a nice surprise when I opened the pattern that it had the directions and markings for making a bust adjustment.  This makes things so much easier!  I cut a 14 at the shoulders, a 16 at the sides, and then did a 1" full bust adjustment.  This added a dart, and lengthened the center front about 1".  I really wanted full length sleeves, and I added some length to the sleeve back and the front yoke/sleeve pieces.

This is another fabric I received in a mystery bundle from Fabric Mart Fabrics.  It's a gorgeous fabric, but not one that I would have chosen on my own.  I believe that it is a silk-cotton which is one of my all time fabric blends.  It's light and luminous, but not sheer.

I chose this pattern because I wanted to try a tie blouse, but I didn't want the tie to be too high on my neck.  This one looked perfect.  Plus it had a neat design with the yoke and sleeve being cut together, which I thought made it look more casual.  I like the idea of dressy fabrics made in a style that you can wear them casually too.

Close up of tie.
I only had 2 yards of the fabric, and it called for 2-5/8, so I ended up taking a lot of time cutting out the pieces individually.  I barely had any scraps left, which is a nice feeling when you know that you're working with what is most likely an expensive fabric.  I would have liked to have placed the paisley better, but this really the only way it was going to fit on my fabric!

Back yoke.
The pattern went together very beautifully, and I've been wearing the blouse already.  It's hard to show in the photos, but the fabric has a lovely luminosity in certain lights.  This picture was about the only one that captured it.

Showing luminosity of fabric.
I like this blouse a lot, and I wouldn't hesitate to make it again.  I've got a few cotton voiles in bright colors that would be pretty for summer.

Have a great Martin Luther King holiday, everyone!  I'm sure I'll be sewing.:)


Simplicity 2344 Wool Skirt

This is the skirt from the Simplicity 2344 pattern.  This is using 1 yard of a black wool tweed that is just gorgeous. It's so basic, that I'm afraid this will be the most boring blog post ever, but you know, I'm really glad that I've got a black straight skirt in my wardrobe now!

This takes just 1 yard of fabric, and it will go with just about anything! 

I did make several changes:

1.  Lengthened it 5 inches.  This is a lot.  I'm tall, but not that tall!  It hits me just below the knee now. 

2.  Lowered the top of the front slit by 2 inches.  It was a little indecent when I sat down initially.  I work at a school, so I need to look somewhat respectable!

3.  Added a lining and interfaced the top of the lining.
The original pattern calls for you to stabilize the waist with twill tape, instead of a separate facing or waistband. I've done this method before, and it's not my favorite.  It's a shortcut that will work in a pinch, but if you've got another 30 minutes, it's much better to actually add a facing.  Because my wool was scratchy, I didn't want the facing next to my skin, so I decided to line the whole thing, from top to bottom.  To stabilize the lining, I ironed on a 2" strip of interfacing to the upper edge of all of the lining pieces.

4.  Made a more substantial french vent.  The original pattern has you just narrow hem the vent.  Again, that's okay, but if you've got enough fabric, it's better to cut out a wider vent and turn it back.  I think that the reason the pattern didn't do that is because  you are adding the extra fabric just to one side of the center front, and to one piece of the side front.  It's tricky, and you have to think about it. Here's a photo of mine- not my best work at all, but I wanted to show you what the inside looks like.  You have to turn back the lining, or else it will show when you walk.

The top is Vogue 8771.  This has turned out to be a great addition to my wardrobe.  I think I'll be wearing this pair a lot!

The bad news/good news, is that I went to Hancock fabrics today, and got three new fabrics to replace the stash that I've been using up.  Got some GREAT deals!!  If you have a Hancock's near you- check out their "fashion value" group which is now 40% off for MLK weekend. 



Simplicity 2344 Metallic Tweed Vest

I have decided that I LOVE vests!  Today it is chilly in my office, and as soon as I put this vest on, I felt fine.  Jackets are too restricting to me because of the sleeves, but a vest adds warmth where I need it, and adds another layer of interest to an outfit.

This vest is from Simplicity 2344.  It is a Khaliah Ali pattern that includes multiple cup sizes for a better fit. The pattern also includes a straight skirt, a jacket, knit blouse, and wide leg pants.  Quite a nice selection, and I do plan on trying out the other pieces.

I did make one significant alteration- I felt that the collar of the vest was going to get in the way of some of the collars on my shirts and dresses, so I redrew the neckline so that it just curves down from the shoulder. 

I made mine from a metallic tweed that has just a subtle golden shimmer.  I'm pretty sure this was in a Fabric Mart mystery bundle.  What I like about mystery bundles is they force me to try new fabrics.  I probably never would have purchased this on my own!

I ordered black rose frogs from Hong Kong off from Ebay store Accessories by Richland.  They were only $4.00 for 10 plus $2.50 shipping and arrived in less than 10 days!  I think that they really make the vest.

The lining is a pretty taupe paisley. 

The back of the vest has a shaped waistband, and there are pockets in the princess seams.

I'm hoping that even though this is fairly dressy with the gold shimmer, that the neutral color will let me wear it with lots of outfits.  I'm really thrilled with how it turned out!

Subtract another 3 yards (1-1/2 for the outer vest and 1-1/2 for the lining) from my stash.  I'm on a roll now!


Win A Yard Wednesday!

This Contest is now over.  Thank you to all of our entrants!  Congratulations to Katja for giving this nameless knit a name!
Jellybean Giraffes Jig In The Garden
on White Jersey Knit
(say that tongue twisting title 5 times fast!)

 Introducing Our Win A Yard Wednesday Contest! 
This is our special new contest that will happen on one Wednesday of each month.
We'll have a different contest each time, and you'll have the chance to win a yard of fabric!
That's right, a WHOLE YARD!!!!!
All you have to do is come up with a creative name for this cute jersey knit fabric.  Continue down for full contest rules.
 Here's How You Can Win
1) The fabric name must include the main description & color(s) of object, shape, design, animal,etc.

2) The fabric name must include the main background color (ex: WHITE)
3) Comment on our Win A Yard Wednesday Facebook Post or SewBaby News Blog Post with your creative, cute, super fancy fabric name.

Example Name:  Multi-Colored Mini Giraffes & Flowers on White This is a very boring example name:  We want you to get creative!

We will pick a winner TODAY (Wednesday) at 2pm!
The winner will receive a FREE YARD of this fabric, and the name will be the fabric's given online name!  You'll be famous!

Simplicity 2337 Princess Pleated Dress

This is the first project for my Fabric Stash Contest!  I am sooo thrilled with this dress.  It turned out better than I expected. 

The pattern I used was Simplicity 2337 which is one of the older Project Runway patterns.
It has several views, and I made View A which has the front that overlaps with pleats over the midsection.  I tell myself that this is tummy camouflage. 

I made a Full Bust Adjustment on the front pieces, using Debbie Cook's wonderful tutorial on her blog Stitches and Seams.  My high bust measurement is 36, which matches the pattern size 14.  My full bust measurement is 39, so I added 1-1/2" to the bust area on the side front, then added length to the center front and facing pieces.  I ended up needing to add an extra pleat to match the lengths, so I don't know if I calculated something wrong, or just made the other pleats too small.  Either way, it was an easy fix. 
Close-up of fabric

My fabric had a little stretch to it, so I decided to forgo the zipper this time, and it was fine.  The back facing ended up being quite large, and I took out 2" out of the center back to get it to fit.  I don't usually have to do this, so that could have been my fabric just had too much stretch, or I am developing a round upper back.  (I'm going to have to start working on my posture!)

The sleeves called for it to be turned up into a cuff.  I felt like I liked them as they were, and just hemmed them regularly.  I didn't add any length to the pattern, other than that needed for the full bust adjustment, and it hits me right above the knee.  I'm 5 feet 9 inches, so someone more petite may want to shorten this quite a bit. 

 I just had to show you my new shoes!  These are the Kennedy Patent Bow shoes on  They are actually very comfortable!

Now that I've got the fitting figured out with this pattern, I would definitely like to make it again.  Maybe in a RED for Valentine's Day! 

Now to get busy sewing more for the Stash Contest!