Icicle Silver Slinky in Butterick 6247

One of my fondest memories of the holidays as a child was decorating the Christmas tree with silver icicle strands.  Does anyone remember these? 

I was reminded of them when I saw this metallic silver slinky fabric at Hancock fabrics spot the bolt table last year.  It was $2.89 a yard and I got 3 yards of it.  Slinky is what knits that are made of acetate are sometimes called, and the name fits it well.  The fabric just likes to slither away from you when you try to press it.  Thank goodness it doesn't wrinkle much! I don't want to give you the wrong impression- it wasn't that hard to sew with, but the pressing was really impossible. I've seen this kind of knit a lot in travel catalogs because of it's wrinkle resisting qualities.  It used to be very expensive to buy by the yard, but I don't see much of it around in the fabric shops these days.  Probably because it is just so slithery to work with!  Emma One Sock has some great tips for sewing with slinky here.

Anyway, I felt like I was getting a steal based on what I remembered this type of fabric selling for in the past.   I wasn't sure what I would make with it when I bought it,  but then I saw Butterick 6247.

I thought "How great would this be made up in the silver icicle knit?"! The pattern is a bit of a fabric hog and the view that I made takes a full 3 yards of fabric.  I made the medium, but added extra at the sides just in case this fabric was clingy. 
View D is really two separate shirts that you overlay one on top of the other.  Because slinky is so heavy, I stabilized the should seams of both layers with twill tape.  Next, you sew on the cowl collar and the sleeves.  I used the selvages for the edges of the front overlay so that I wouldn't have to hem them.  Then I serged the hem also instead of folding it under.  I cut off 2" off the underneath layer, so mine is possibly a little shorter than they intended. 

It's super, super quick to sew, and I think it will be warm enough for an Illinois winter.  I really like this pattern, and intend to look around for some other fabrics that would work for this design.  I suppose you could mix fabrics as well if you didn't have the full 3 yards in one.

I've been trying a new alteration lately that I wanted to share with you.   I got this idea after looking at the pattern draft of one of Connie Crawford's patterns.  In her sleeve draft the back of the sleeve cap is significantly longer than the front.  So, I've been slicing the sleeve to add length to the back and at the same time spreading the sleeve cap so that I can add a little more width to the bicep.

I think that this works for me because most of my arm bulk is in the back of my arm.  Then I add the same amount of length to the back.  

This part is similar to a high round back adjustment. This particular combination of alterations accomplishes two things for me- it keeps the sleeves from being too tight, and it really helps keep the neckline from sliding back,.  I've not seen this particular combination in any reference books, so I don't think it has a name.  If you've seen this before, please let me know.  Whatever it is, I'm going to continue using it because it's working great for me!

What are you sewing for the holidays?  Have you ever sewn with Slinky knits before?

Cheers to you during this holiday season!!

Happy Sewing!


You're never too old for footie pajamas

This is my daughter, Ariana.  How old would you guess her to be?  I know she looks young, but she is actually 27.   And she still loves pajamas with feet. She's been asking me to make her a new pair for a while.  I've been putting the project on the back burner, and was in no hurry to do it.  So she made me an offer that I couldn't refuse.  "Mom- if I made a flourless chocolate cake, would you make me the pajamas now?"

Who could pass up that offer? She wanted them to be made of natural fibers, not polyester.  So, we found some french terry in the SewBaby fabrics that was perfect- thick enough to be warm, but breathable so she won't get too hot.

Finding a current pattern with feet that was designed for knits proved to be impossible.  There are several jumpsuit type pajama patterns, but none of them have feet.  And there is a Kwik Sew women's pattern with feet, but it was designed for woven fabrics.  She is petite, so I went back to my Kwik Sew children's footed pajama pattern and compared measurements.  She is 3 inches taller than the XL child's size, so I graded the pattern to be one size larger.  Voila, a perfect fit!  See- it pays to hold on to those patterns- you never know when they will come in handy!!!

 I used an orange zipper and turquoise ribbing to accent the colors in the print.

You wouldn't think that this was a stripe, but all of the circles are in a row, so you really do need to treat it as a stripe.   I tried to align the circles when cutting out the pattern, and it turned out pretty well!

For non-slip feet, I used this slipper gripper in red, also available at SewBaby.

The feet are cut out of both the fabric and the slipper gripper, so there is an extra layer of cushioning in them.  A package has enough for two projects, so now I've got to figure out who else might want either slippers, or another pair of these?

As you can see, she is in love with her new pajamas.  Isn't it nice to know that there are still things that Mom can do that a store can't quite duplicate.  Oh, and the cake was delicious too.  A fair trade.

Do you have grown-up children who still want you to sew for them?

Happy Sewing!


Faux Wrap Dress with Drape- Butterick 6166

It's been glorious weather here in Illinois.   We're in harvest season, and the field behind our house, (which I posted photos back in June when the corn was growing here), has now been combined and all that is left is little stalks. 

It's a whole different kind of beauty, and I love watching the field in all of the seasons.   I also love making clothes that reflect the time of year, and this dress is meant to do just that.  The burgundy, the muted green, the burnt orange- all remind me of the changing foliage.   The pattern is Butterick 6166.  It's a knit dress with a faux wrap overlay and a drape across the waist.

I like that you feel like it is a wrap, but you don't need to worry about the wind.  The fabric that I used is 100% cotton jersey from Hancock fabrics.  It has a horizontal stripe which you can see from the back.  I wasn't sure I wanted the horizontal stripe going all the way around, so I turned the overlay to go up and down.  It is a single layer, and the vertical edge is narrow hemmed. 

It doesn't have much stretch going that way, and I wasn't sure that it was going to work, but luckily, it didn't hurt the fit at all.  In fact, I think it may have helped to stabilize the neckline.  I lowered the neckline by quite a bit, probably 3" or so.   With a larger bust, I feel like a lower neckline is more flattering.  And it's easier to find a necklace that works with it also.  The neckline is narrow hemmed, and I stabilized the back portion with a strip of fusible interfacing before I did the narrow hem.  Since you narrow hem the under-dress and the overlay together on the front, I didn't add any interfacing here.

Here you can see the back with the horizontal stripes more clearly.  There are also some darts at the back for fitting.  And you can see that I left out the zipper, as I most usually do with knit dresses.

 Overall, it was very quick to sew, and I think I'm going to love wearing it! I can pop a cardigan over it when it gets a little colder. If you make this, the only recommendation that I would make is that you choose a fabric that handles narrow hemming well- as there is quite a bit of it in this pattern.  

I'd like to try this pattern again with some colorblocking.  You can also skip the overlay layer, as Sheila did on a gorgeous dress on her blog at SheilazCTK .  I can see a lot of possibilities with this one! 

On a completely different topic, my assistant at SewBaby, Shirley, is retiring at the end of this month, and since she was primarily responsible for filling fabric orders, I've decided to significantly reduce the fabrics that we offer.  We've got all of our cottons, corduroys and flannels marked 60% off!  So, head on over to SewBaby and take a look.  You might just find the perfect project for that next baby shower!

Happy Sewing!

Pillow Talk

Fabric Mart is having an incredible Home Dec sale right now, and I ordered two yards of fabric for recovering some throw pillows- 1 solid and 1 print.   The one thing that I have learned over the years in making pillow covers, is that the home dec fabric really is superior to using regular cotton fabric.  Pillows actually take quite a bit of stress, and regular cotton fabric will tear and wrinkle,  but home dec fabric doesn't.

I use down pillow forms that I got from IKEA in various shapes and sizes.  I like down-filled pillows because they seem to last longer than regular polyester filled pillows, and I can just change the covers on them. And you cannot beat IKEA's price on them!  They are the same price that you would pay for polyester filled pillows at a regular fabric store. Again, you really need home dec fabric to use down pillows, as it is dense and won't let the pointy feathers through.   Those feathers will manage to get through once in a while, but not often.

For the covers, I don't do anything fancy.  I just cut a square or rectangle the size of the form plus 1"  for seam allowances.   I serge the raw edges, and use the selvages for edges if I can because that will be the best edge finish.  I insert a zipper on one side- whatever zippers I have on hand.
Here I used some brass zippers that I got in an assortment from Sew True Sewing Supply.
I don't see the assortment there anymore, but they are still a pretty great price for a very heavy duty zipper. 

I was able to get 3 covers from each yard.  The geometric print was $5, and the solid was $3.50, so with the zippers included, I was able to get 6 covers for less than $15 total and less than 2 hours of work!  Not bad for a fresh look to the living room. Isn't that right, Fred (our cat)? 

Have you bought any home dec fabrics lately?  What do you like to make with them?

Happy Sewing!



McCalls 7249- a Rectangle's Best Friend

Meet my new best friend- McCall's 7249.  How is it that putting extra fabric around your midsection can actually help you to look like you've got a smaller waist?  I can't explain it, but this pattern does exactly that!  Here is my first version with what I call my EKG print.  I wasn't really sold on the print, but it was cheap, and now that I see it in a dress, I really love it!

Here is my second version with a fun chevron knit print:

I was feeling in the mood for some new dresses, and even went to JCPenney to try some on, but ended up  at Hancock fabrics instead, and picked up this pattern.  Here are all of the views included.  The dress takes about 2-1/2 yds.  

My fabrics are both ITY knits that I also picked up at Hancock's on a different visit.  I had said that I was going to stay away from polyester, but these both feel so nice!  Of course it is the perfect weather for them also-not too hot, not too cold. 

The pattern is just 4 pieces- 3 if you want to make the sleeveless version. For the dress with sleeves, it's just sleeves, front, back, and then the overlay, which also functions as the neckline finish.  Here's a close-up for you to see.  It's a little difficult to see where the overlay is with all of the zigzagging going on.

 It is one of those patterns that goes together like a puzzle, and I recommend that you read the instructions first.  Unlike me, who immediately sewed the overlay to the front with the right sides together, when it should have been right side to wrong side!  It's only one page of instructions, so it really would have taken less time to read them, than to rip out that section.

But, once I got that right, the rest of it went together like a dream. The length of the dress was 38" which is usually a really good length for me, so I didn't lengthen it.  However, I think that perhaps the ruching takes up some of that length, as it feels a little short.  I would like it a tad longer.

So, if you have a rectangularish shape like I do, I highly recommend giving this pattern a try!  It's a winner in my book.  Do you have any patterns that can perform optical illusions like this one?  If so, please share!

And thanks to all who have taken some of my fabrics with my Super Stash Reduction Sunday last week!  I've sold about half, and have condensed the remainder into a new photo album, that you can see here.  Best offers will be considered, so please don't hesitate to ask me at sewbaby at sewbaby dot com if you see anything that you'd like.

Happy Sewing!


Amazing Ottobre Woman Index 2006-2015

If you are a long time Ottobre Woman subscriber, you probably know the feeling of going through all of your old issues to find just the right style to suit you at a particular moment  It can be a little confusing, flipping back and forth, comparing one thing to another.

Alice Hall from Abilene, TX  has come up with a solution!  She has taken the time to compile all of the Ottobre line drawings from 2006-2015 by specific garment type.  It's fantastic!  Now I can just thumb through this, instead of going through 10 years of magazines!  She's organized it by garment type, fabric type and even by sleeve type!  Alice has given me permission to share her work with you.  She would like for everyone who is interested to have access to the index so they can see how great Ottobre patterns are!  Here are a couple of pages from it for you to see, but there are many, many more!

Alice created it in Powerpoint because it is easy to move photos around. You can find the Powerpoint file here.  If you have Powerpoint, you can save a copy to your computer and make changes to reflect the issues that you own.  If you don't have Powerpoint, I've converted her original file to a PDF file, and you can download the PDF file here.

If you want to print it, just be sure to select Landscape mode as the pages are laid out horizontally. There are 34 pages.

Many thanks to Alice for the many hours that she spent compiling this information!  Alice doesn't have a blog herself, but if you'd like to leave her a comment here, I'll make sure she sees it!

Happy Sewing!


Super Stash Busting Sunday

Have you heard of SABLE?  Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy?  Well, I've achieved it. If you'd like to take some beautiful fabrics off of my hands for a good price, please check out the fabrics below.  If you click on the links below the photos it should take you to my Google photo albums for each group.  For some reason, the links don't work from the Bloglovin reader, but they do if you are on the blog directly.

Each group has at least 10 items in it, which the descriptions and prices included.  All are good quality apparel fabrics- many are just colors that I've decided aren't the best for me, or too similar to other fabrics that I also have in my stash.

Price varies, but average of $10/yard.  Free shipping to US included for orders of 3 or more pieces.  Please send me your address for postage quotes for 1-2 pieces ,or if you are out of the US.  E-mail me at sewbaby at sewbaby dot com if you would like to order any of these fabrics.

Fine Fabric Sale

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Happy Shopping!


Off to Bangladesh with Butterick 4238

Certain people think that I am like Samantha in "Bewitched", and can just wiggle my nose; and voila-  a garment appears!  Those certain people would be: my adult daughters.

My youngest daughter left for 6 week work trip to Bangladesh this morning, and yesterday morning, she picked out her fabric and pattern for me to make her a work appropriate tunic for that part of the world.  So, I didn't get a photo of her in it, but I did manage to snap a few on the dress form.   She chose this lavender and green ikat print from SewBaby, and Butterick 4238.

This is an out of print pattern, but with the asymmetrical hemlines, I think it still is very current.  I made View B, and the body pieces are cut on the bias, which I think looked pretty interesting with the ikat print.  It only took 2 yards which is pretty great for a long sleeve tunic cut on the bias!  I raised the neckline about 1 inch, per her request, and I also raised the spot on the pattern where the side slits start.

Here's a back view for you.  I feel like the back has some odd fullness in it that is related to the fabric being on the bias.  When she gets back, I'd like to tweak that a bit- perhaps but in some waist darts.

I approached the neckline with a little trepidation because of the bias issue as well, but it actually lays pretty nicely.  It's finished with a facing.

I just love the fabric.  It is currently on sale at SewBaby here, if you are interested as well.

I hope that she gets a lot of use out of it on her trip.  In Bangladesh, women dress very modestly, but the clothing is also very colorful.  She says that most women wear beautiful clothing, even while doing work such as farming.  It's funny that it's kind of the opposite here- so many people are wearing blue jeans when working in offices. 

While she is there, she intends to order some custom made sets.  Apparently, you can get complete sets that include a tunic, scarf, and pants for under $25!  And made to fit you as well!

Have you seen Vogue's new patterns?  There is one that would have been just ideal for what she wanted, Vogue 9159.  It is designed for knits though, which might be a little warm for Bangladesh- I think most of their tunics are rayon.  But, I'm putting it on my wishlist anyway!

Do you like this style of tunic?  I do, but I have yet to make myself something like it.  And, do you have certain people who think you are magic and can make something in a blink of an eye?

Happy Sewing!

A Little Dye Can Fix That

   I got to wondering if I could tone down the neon pink in the dress from my last post if I dipped it in a black dye bath, so I gave it a try last night.  I knew that my fabric was synthetic, and probably wouldn't take a lot of dye, but if it had a hint of nylon in it, it would absorb something.  Here's what it looked like in the bath: 

I used a standard RIT dye with vinegar and hot water.  Most of the dye washed out, and what I was left with was slightly more purple and less neon than the original.  It also changed the black and white houndstooth to black and grey.  My daughter saw it this morning, and absolutely loved it, so she's wearing it to work today.

 It's hard to capture the neon-ness of the pink in the photos, but this is what it was before:

I've used dye a few times now to make a garment more to my liking, and it's really fun.  It does take some time, as you've got to stir, stir, stir, and then rinse, rinse, rinse.  But, since I've already put the time in sewing the garment, it makes sense to put the time into the dyeing as well.

And on a completely unrelated topic, I have been interested in finding a Needle Board for years, but they have been too expensive.  A needle board is  just like the name implies- a board with a whole bunch of pins sticking up.  It is used for pressing velvet, or other fabrics that have a pile that you don't want to flatten.  Well, I was at Tuesday Morning, picking up some toggles that Kathy from Kathy Sews had talked about on her blog.  And low and behold, there was a needle board for $14.99!  They only had two in my store, but if you have a Tuesday Morning, you might want to run out and see if they have one in your store too, as that is a fantastic price.  This is what it looks like:

Happy Sewing!


An Ordinary Day Dress from Ottobre Woman

Some pattern companies identify their patterns by numbers, some give them names- often a female first name.  But Ottobre gives each design a a name that often describes the item, or the situation it will be worn in.   This design was called "An Ordinary Day".  This dress is anything but ordinary!  I would have called it "A Very Crazy Day".  Just what you need to wear when everything around you is chaotic.  Here's the line drawing from the issue- this is the Fall/Winter 2015 Ottobre Woman- available here.  In looking at this again, I didn't get it quite right!  My front center panel goes all of the way.  Darn it!

Let's start from the beginning- the tracing.   This is basically the same design as another dress in this issue- #1- Twig.  I made Twig when I first got this issue here, and wanted to test the fit of it before I delved into the pieced version.  But while tracing Twig, I also traced the lines for the Ordinary Day pieces.  This is what my initial front piece looked like:

So, for making it out of one fabric, you just place this on the fold, and cut on the outside line- ignoring all of the other lines.  But for piecing it, you need to trace separate pieces for each section, making sure to flip the pattern over where the section crosses into the other half of the dress.  I thought that that one line was a grainline, so I should have checked against the line drawing before I was done.  But, it all did fit together, so it's okay.  So, my pieces for the front pieced version look like this:
Here's the initial back:

And here are the back pieced pieces:

I used plastic painter's cloth to trace over the initial piece.  I hope that I'm not scaring anyone with these pictures, as it isn't hard.  I actually enjoyed it- like putting a puzzle piece together in reverse.  You do have to pay attention to right versus left, which I have never been good at.  I always get them mixed up.

I don't know about you, but I generally keep my scraps if they are over 3/4 yd long.  Why 3/4?  Because that is about how much I would need for a bodice or a sleeve or even a skirt.  All of these pieces are scraps from previous projects.  The pink is a lightweight jersey, the print is a scuba, and the skirt is a sweatshirt fleece.  The black is the reverse side of the scuba.

Even though they were all different weights, they all were knit, and went together well. The sweatshirt fleece is perhaps a bit thick for this, as it doesn't want to drape very well, but it will do.

I really like the pocket, and chose to use the print for both the binding and the pocket itself.

Now, after all of the fun that I had making this one, I decided to pull a few more scraps and make a second one.  I used a neon pink knit, a black and white houndstooth, a magenta and black ponte.  I think that I went a little too crazy on this one.  If I had just used solids with the neon pink, maybe then it would have been just the right amount of crazy, but mixing the prints with the neon, I think went too far.  Oh, well.  What do you guys think?

I think it looks a little like activewear, and it may grow on me.  Perhaps if I wore it with a black sweater to cover up some of the pink, that would tone it down enough.  Or one of my twenty-something daughters may be braver than I and take it on.  We'll have to see!  I think that the pockets are super cute on this one. 

But I do like my first version quite a bit and highly recommend it!  You could also make it from a single color, and use some decorative stitching to highlight the seamlines, if you want a more tranquil version.

If you don't have this issue and would like to make your own Very Crazy Day dress, here's a link to it on our website.

Happy Sewing!