Butterick 6028 Katherine Tilton slouchy pants

I have generally stayed away from making pants because they are time consuming, and I can often get a better fit, and better fabric with ready to wear pants.  Pants are generally the supporting character in an outfit, so I put more attention into the tops.  However, I've been really excited by the trend that I've been seeing of printed pants, and the cover of this  Butterick 6028  had a really lovely fabric choice, so I thought that I'd give it a try.   

Important!  There is a pattern error with this pattern, so if you are making these, please read to the end to save yourself much frustration!

The fabric that I used is a canvas print by Marc Jacobs that Fabricmartfabrics.com had for quite some time.  It is a cross between an animal print, and a digital print.  The fabric quality if superb, and I like that it is in neutral shades, so I can pair it with any top that I want.

 Here are the neat things in this pattern:

1.  Elasticized back waist, faced front waist.
2.  Nice big pockets.  

3.  Side back piece curves around to the front ankle.  This isn't shown in the line drawing, but it's definitely a feature.

4.  Back seams for additional back interest.

5.  Loose through hip and thigh, tapering to slim ankles.  Very comfortable to wear and sit in.  This is my other kitty, FRED!

I found that this pants pattern has a significant construction error in it, but if you can get past that, you can get a pretty cool looking pair of pants!  The construction error involves the zipper in the front.  They give you instructions based on how you might typically make a pair of pants with a traditional waistband.  However, the pattern is for a faced waist, with no separate waistband.  It's not a huge deal to change this if you are experienced, but if you are a new sewer, it could really mess up the project.   What you need to do is put the zipper top about 2 inches below the top of the pant piece, then continue with the instructions for zipper insertion.  You'll need to shorten the zipper to make this work.  Otherwise you end up with bulky zipper teeth in the faced area where you want to put the hook and eyes. 

Also, I found that the facings are not the right length, so I would recommend adding an inch or so to the length of the facing piece, to give you that little bit extra that you'll need, especially on the left.

In addition to the change in the facings, here are the standard pants alterations that I make to fit me:
1.  Added 1-1/2" to leg length.
2.  Shortened front crotch length by 1-1/2"
3.  Lengthened back crotch length by 1-1/2".

The first fabrics recommended on the envelope are stretch twill or poplin.  However, these pants are loose fitting, so no stretch is required.  You can easily go down a size with this pattern to start with.  I know that the slouchy look isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I really like it!  I will certainly be making more of these, now that I have done this test run.  When I make them again, I'll jot down the instruction changes that I make to make construction go more smoothly.

Happy Sewing!


Knit Tunics from Vogue 8962

Vogue 8962 is a wardrobe pattern that includes two tops, a pant and a skirt, all designed for knits! Most wardrobe patterns are for woven fabrics, not knits, so I was very excited to buy this when it was first released.
The top has the high low hem that is so popular right now, plus an interesting bias cut back that wraps around to the front to give the top some interesting lines.
The first one that I made was the cowl necked version out of a lightweight rayon knit.  You can see it is really long!  It's kind of hard to see the seamline in the print, but if you look closely, you can see it.

 Here you can see the back view with the separate yoke and the center back seam.

The next version is without the cowl, and is using a solid cream rayon/lycra knit.  I really love how the top drapes when you sit.  You can't see any muffin top, which is quite an accomplishment with a clingy knit.

 Here you can see the back a little better.  The neckline is just turned under and stitched- not a separate facing. It goes together extremely well. 

I  plan to try the skirt and the pants too as soon as I find a nice heavier weight knit to make them with.
I think this is a great style for taller women.  If you are shorter, I think it might be a little overwhelming at it's current length, so you might want to shorten it.  It would be fantastic out of a striped knit to showcase that curved bias back/side front piece as well.  Highly recommend this one!

Happy Sewing!


Dresses from Vogue 8961

When I saw Vogue 8961, my first thought was, "Perfect for work- something simple, comfortable, and super quick to make."  I've been admiring winter white dresses, and found this winter white wool gabardine in my stash.  I usually think of gabardine as something only for jackets or pants, but it actually has a nice drape and is great for dresses!
I added in-seam pockets to this one, and since it was cream, I added a lining so that there would be no show through.  I did add some length- I can't remember how much, but probably 3 inches to fit my 5'9" frame.  I also skipped the sleeve options of ruching or open slits that are included in the pattern.

Here you can see the seam that runs from the shoulder to the bottom of the sleeve.  I believe that this is a modified kimono sleeve, but if anyone else knows for sure, please correct me.  I did have some problems with the shoulder seam riding back after wearing it for a few minutes, and I corrected the problem by removing about 1-1/2" of length from the front neckline on each side. 

It's a pretty nice dress, and I like that I can set the whole tone with a scarf of any color.  The weight of the gabardine with the lining is substantial enough to be quite warm.   I like having the elastic waist, so that I can get some waist definition when I stand, but comfort when I sit.

I made it a second time, and this dress is made out of a silk/cotton/lycra twill that is thick enough that I decided not to line it.  I did a high round back adjustment on this one, in addition to shortening the front neckline, hoping to prevent the shoulder seam riding back.  I'm not sure that the adjustment did anything.  I think that the neckline is a little large on this pattern.

I actually love the end results of both dresses, and I'm sure that I'll get a ton of wear from them. If you are interested in this pattern, I would recommend cutting the neckline a couple of sizes smaller than your typical size.  I think this is really quite a versatile pattern, as you could also make the shorter top version, and it should work with a variety of fabrics. 

I'll leave you with my cat, Maddie, who is always interested in what I'm sewing. 

Happy sewing!

Burda Bell Coat 11/2013 #116

When I got my November Burda issue, and saw the cover photo, I said "I have that fabric!  I must make that coat!"  It didn't matter to me that it wasn't particularly attractive in the model, and that the model is a size 0 and I am NOT a size 0.

Sometimes you just see what you want to see.I had this gorgeous piece of light blue boiled wool in my stash for a few years, and its time had come.

The coat was extremely simple to make.  If you can pull off this style, there probably isn't an easier coat pattern out there.  I made it in one day- I kid you not.  However, then the problems began.  I realized that I had a styling problem with this coat, when I put it on, and felt that it looked like an old woman in a light blue bathrobe.  All I needed was curlers in my hair.  So, to remedy it, I decided to chop off 9 inches of the bottom of the coat.

 It now hits me at my mid-thigh.  Because it is a bulky fabric that doesn't ravel, I left the bottom unhemmed.  I don't think anyone will know but me, (and now you, of course).

Although it looked better, it still felt like it could go "old" unless I styled it with pretty modern items.  So, I went with simple black gloves, boots, and hat.

 I used silver magnetic snaps at the top, although they are hidden.  I love magnetic snaps- they almost fasten themselves when the magnets get close enough.

 But, alas- this coat isn't for a real winter.  And, I'm sorry to say, we have had a REAL WINTER this year!   The wind just whips right up those big wide sleeves, not to mention the fact that it is completely open below the snaps.

Practical, this coat is NOT.  Pretty it is.  Comfortable it is.  I think I will get more use out of it once it is a little warmer.

 And the lining is an aqua silk charmeuse- as luxurious as you can get.   I'm sure that this coat would cost a pretty penny had it been in a designer shop.

 Here's the back.  Me looking over our recent snow, wondering when the snow plow will ever come down our street.

 So, to summarize-
1.  Difficult style and color to wear without going "old".  Must style carefully!!!
2.  Not practical in a real winter, due to wide sleeves and no closures.
3.  Easy to sew.
4.  Comfortable to wear.
That's my two cents.  Occasionally, I wish that I would have waited for another pattern for this fabric, but it's growing on me.  I haven't worn it out in public yet, so I will have to see how I feel after I've ventured outside of my back yard in it for the final verdict. 

Happy Sewing!

Dedicated to Mom

My Mom, Barbara Atkinson
Hello again!  I've been missing from the blogosphere for a few months.  My Mother was ill and passed away in January.  She was 85, and I was fortunate to have had her in my life for so long, but it is still hard to say goodbye.  Things are slowly getting back to normal.

I was blessed with a Mom that shared with me a myriad of her talents.  Since this is a sewing blog, I will focus here just on one of those talents.  I owe all of my sewing ability to my Mom.  She taught me from the time that I was 8 years old until I was 18.  There were a lot of trips to the fabric store, long days of sewing for 4-H competitions, and many, many times when she ripped out my mistakes, so I wouldn't have to. 

I know that she was proud of my sewing, and before she passed away, I got a chance to show her what I'd been working on.  I was putting together a capsule wardrobe with shades of aqua, cream and black, with a few touches of magenta.  I was using deluxe fabrics including lots of silks and woolens.  Her favorite color was aqua, and she thought it was all so beautiful.  I'm so happy that she got to see it. 

So, I'm dedicating this wardrobe capsule to my Mom.  I'll think of her every time I wear something from it.  I'll be posting about each item over the next few weeks, but here's a sneak peak of everything: 

I've made:
2 knit tunics
1 silk button front shirt
1 fleece zip jacket
1 wool cardigan
4 dresses
1 pair of pants
and one coat. 

Other items in my closet that will work with this capsule include a black leather skirt, cream denim jeans, black boots, grey boots, black turtleneck, teal tights, black leggings, and various scarves and jewelry. 

It's a snow day here, and my husband is annoyed that I'm blogging, instead of shoveling with him, so I will begin posting about each item tomorrow.

Happy Sewing!