Shorts and Tops from Ottobre Woman 2/2015

Can you believe it's the last day of March?  It's finally a balmy 63 degrees here in Illinois- shorts weather!   I was on Spring Break last week, and made my first pair of shorts this year and a couple of new knit tops from the latest Ottobre Woman pattern magazine.  Here are the garments from the magazine:

 And here are my versions:

 I started with design #19, the Due Tone Long Sleeve Jersey top.  The fabric is a rayon/lycra striped jersey in lime and off white that I bought from Hancock Fabrics in their value fabrics section.  It's very soft and silky, and I love the wide stripe.  I've gotten some good deals from that section lately.  I think this was about $4/yd and this design takes 1-1/2 yards, so I spent about $6 for the fabric.

I interfaced the pocket and used double needle stitching to finish the wide hem and neckband.  I think it turned out pretty nice!

Next up was #17, the Faded Stripes Jersey Top.   This top has a separate shoulder yoke and uses ribbing to bind the neck and armholes.  This is a 100% cotton jersey that I've had in my stash for a few years.  Luckily, we had a coordinating ribbing at SewBaby that just blends in perfectly.

My favorite of this bunch of items is #18, Gym and Sport Sweat Shorts.  These have a lot of details, but because of the raw edge construction, they aren't too difficult.  I used a super soft sherpa knit, with white ribbing, both from SewBaby.  I added 3 inches to the length, as the original design is super short.  I used a very lightweight interfacing to interface both the front and the back pockets.  I knew that would make them easier to sew in place.  The raw edges are topstitched with a double needle, and I'm sure that after they are washed, they will roll a little so you'll be able to see the fleecy side of the fabric.

The waistband has two small grommets for threading the tie made from the ribbing.  You run a line of stitching halfway up the waistband to make a smaller casing for the tie to go through.
I left the edges unfinished on the hem and the pockets, running a double needle stitching line near the edge of both.  You really would not believe how comfortable these are!   Here's a photo of the inside, so you can see the sherpa texture there.

Here they are on me.  I thought that my legs would be the same shade of white as the shorts, but I can see a difference in the photos!  These have a real retro feel to them that I like.  With all of the new slick techno fabrics available, you hardly ever see a pair of soft fleecy shorts in the stores.  They are probably not the best for real exercising because they won't wick away moisture, but they will be fine for lounging around and leisurely walks.

We sold out of the first shipment of this Ottobre issue, but expect our new issue any day now, if you'd like to preorder a copy.   I love this issue!  I posted a couple of weeks ago about the first few items that I made from it here.  These shirts will work with the skirt and linen pants that I made from that group as well.

Do you ever sew your own shorts?  If you do, what patterns have you liked?

Happy Sewing!


Vogue 8379 in a Striped Silk Jersey

Hello everyone and happy Spring!

This is the first time that I've taken photos outdoors since October.  It feels so nice to be outside again!  To celebrate the long awaited arrival of Spring, I just had to make a new dress.  One of the most versatile dresses that I think you can own is a wrap dress.  They work for all seasons- just throw on a jacket or cardigan in the winter, and you can make a wrap dress work all year long.  So for this time of year where the temperature is up one day and down the next, a wrap dress is perfect.

The wrap dress was made popular by Diane Von Furstenberg in the 70's.  Have you ever seen a real DVF Wrap dress?  If you go to the Wrap Shop you can see that the average price is $400, and all of the gorgeous variations that they offer.  The one thing that I noticed that they all have in common, is that they are made from silk jersey.

I actually tried on an authentic DVF wrap dress once, and found out what silk jersey really feels like.  It's a lot like an ITY jersey in feel, but it has a lot less stretch. The colors in silk always seem to be richer, and that makes the DVF dresses look so much more vibrant than others.  I really had my heart set on making a wrap dress from a real silk jersey, and as usual, FabricMart had the perfect fabric- a striped silk jersey in my favorite colors (see below for a close-up).  Looks a lot like my blog background, don't you agree?

My favorite pattern for this style is Vogue 8379.  I've taught a class using it before, and amazingly, every size and shape looked great in it!  I did have to make adjustments to the pattern.  I did a full bust adjustment, a full biceps adjustment, and added length to the skirt.  But after my adjustments, I got a much better fit than I could ever have gotten buying an authentic DVF wrap dress. The McCall Pattern company blog is currently running a Wrap Dress Sewalong with some great information about fitting this particular style.

Since my fabric was striped, I had visions of trying to match the stripes in a chevron effect at all of the seams.  But when I got it, I saw that the stripes were quite curved.  So instead of trying to match the stripes at the seams, I decided to just try to play around with the direction of the stripes.  Here's what my fabric looked like on the cutting table:

Since the bodice and sleeves are fitted closely, I decided to lay the back bodice and sleeves in the direction of the maximum stretch- which was horizontally.  I oriented the front bodice so that the stripes would line up with the direction of the wrap- almost a 45 degree angle.  The skirt was a challenge.  I omitted the seam in the back, and cut it all in a single layer with the stripes at a slight angle.   Then I tried to match the sides in whatever direction the stripes were going in.  It didn't turn out perfect, but I'm pretty happy with it.  It has a kind of ice cream swirl effect.

Lastly, I cut the tie and facings with the stripes going horizontally. My front facing does turn out (even though it's not supposed to!), but it looks intentional with the horizontal facing.

Of course, you do need to pay attention to the skirt when you are sitting, but there is plenty of overlap so that you can stay covered up.  And if it is a windy day, well, you might just want to wear another dress!

 Have you made a wrap dress?   What is your favorite wrap dress pattern and fabric?

Here is the picture of the Bodice front after I did a Full Bust adjustment:

Happy Sewing!


Spring Wardrobe Sewing with Ottobre Woman 2/2015

Have you started sewing for warmer weather yet?  I've been really enjoying sewing with the new Ottobre Woman issue.   There are twenty designs, and I've made up six of them so far, and I've only had it two weeks!  That probably sounds like a lot, but believe me- these are extremely simple designs!  Most of them have just two or three pieces, so I've been able to trace, cut and sew them in an evening. People talk about a running high- I'm on a sewing high- I'm in the zone and the endorphins are flowing.  Here are my pieces all laid out with some shoes and accessories:

I decided on a Spring color palette of white, dark blue, light green and taupe, with the fabrics heavy on natural fibers so that this will transition into hot summer easily.  I've got several pieces already that will blend with these, and my goal is to have something similar to a Project 333 closet.

My first project from this issue was #14- the Loose Fit pants. (All Ottobre designs have a number and name!)  These have pockets and an elastic waistband with multiple rows of stitching. I made them from a white stretch linen that is just luscious.  Great fit, super comfortable.  Can't wait to make more of this one.

Next up was #13- the Melange Knit cardigan.  The fabric was an acrylic navy blue/ white stripe sweater knit from Hancock fabrics.  This one is definitely a warm weather cardigan that is more open than a cool weather cardigan.  The center fronts do not meet or overlap, so there is less fabric used.  Mine turned out quite long, but I think that's because the fabric grew lengthwise.  My plan is that this cardigan will go with everything else, so I'll probably keep it in my purse to throw on when the air conditioning is too cold for bare arms.

This issue has several dresses, but I wanted to start with #16- the Optic Flowers Jersey Dress with pockets.  It has a dropped waist, banded pockets, and 3/4 sleeves.  I used a cotton/poly blend interlock from SewBaby- found here.  This washed up beautifully- very soft and substantial.  It's trimmed it with navy ribbing.  This is like a sweatshirt dress- very casual.  If you don't like to wear dresses because they are too dressy, try this one.  You won't feel like you are dressed up!

 I added 3 inches to the length, so it would hit just above the knee.   This is a dress that I can wear anywhere- very casual, comfy, and has just a little retro vibe to it I think.  Here it is with the cardigan.

I made two tops.  The first was #1- Grain Field.  This is a sleeveless swing crop top that is fitted at the bust and swings out at the waist.  It has a wide boat neckline, which I lowered 1-1/2" at the center front.  I like more open necklines.  I used a honeycomb floral navy voile, and lengthened it one inch.  Here it is with the #7 Swing and Flippy Skirt.

The second top was #10- Sculpture.  This one took two tries to get it right.  I first cut it out of a navy silk charmeuse because I thought it needed something with great drape.  Major fail.  The charmeuse didn't hold the pleats well at all, and the neckline stretched way out of shape.  The directions tell you to narrow hem it, and by the time my neckline was narrow hemmed, it just was a big squiggly mess.
Not to worry, I had another fabric with a little more body to try out.  This one was taupe linen, and the pleats held nicely.  I felt like the neckline was too curvy for the narrow hem though, so I finished it with a bias binding this time.  Good call, as this time the neckband lays nicely.  I'm in love with this one now.  The earthy color, the softness of the washed linen- ahhhhh- just makes you feel relaxed.   Each top took only one yard of fabric.
And lastly, the panel skirt is made from Swing and Flippy  #7.  The fabric is a sculptured floral stretch denim that I got from Hancock fabrics.    It is brushed too and feels really nice.  It has a high enough stretch factor, that I omitted the zipper and just went with an elastic waist.  My version has 3-1/2" extra length. I'm lucky that my fabric had stretch, as this baby is TIGHT in the tummy!  If I make it again from a non-stretch fabric, I'm sizing up.

I'm on Spring Break next week, and hope to get a few more designs sewn then.  If you are interested in this issue, you can order a copy at SewBaby!  We've sold out of our original shipment, but have more on the way, and you can reserve a copy.  I highly recommend it if you like simple easy to sew project like these!

Have you ever been on a sewing high where you could just sew on and on and on?


Spring Fling Sewing Contest!

Hi everyone!

Spring is in the air, and what better way to celebrate than with a SPRING SEWING CONTEST!
So gather your supplies and sew up something festive - you could win a $50 gift certificate from SewBaby!
Contest rules:
-You can sew anything you'd like, as long as your project is made using at least one product purchased from SewBaby (printed pattern, e-pattern, fabric, etc.)
-Post your photos to our Facebook page and specify what product(s) you used in order to be entered into the contest.
-You have until Monday, April 6th to post your submissions. 

So have fun, get creative, and show us what you can do! Good luck to all, and happy sewing!

Ottobre Woman Spring 2015 Issue

Have you heard of Ottobre?  It is a Finnish company that prints pattern magazines for both women and children.  The women's Spring/Summer issue just arrived today!  The pictures above are both the same magazine- they put a cover on both the front and the back!  We carry it at SewBaby and are taking orders for the issue right now at 15% off.   If you compare it to Burda magazine, the designs are much more down to earth and easier to make. Lots of things that you will actually wear!  Every time I get a new one, I say "I'm going to make everything in this issue!"  I haven't yet succeeded in that goal because I get distracted too easily, but I really would love to do that.

Here's a couple of nice pants and tops. Gosh I love the fabric on that A-line top! Notice the shoes too.  Mostly flats in this issue.  I really appreciate that.

This Kimono jacket and skirt look like my style.  In fact, I think I have the perfect fabric for it.

They always include some sort of fitness attire. Those Finns must be so healthy!  I used to wear shorts that short in the 80's.  Ahh, memories!

And various types of dresses, so whether you are a sporty type, or a girly girl, you will probably like one of the options.  I really love this yellow dress.  I don't usually wear full skirts, but this one seems to be just moderately full.  Can you see it in a  bold floral set on a black background?

And also a special occasion type pattern or two, for those graduations and weddings coming up.  This one below is the same pattern as the sporty one above. That cropped jacket would be cute in a solid linen too. 

The line drawings and instructions are clear and easy to understand.  They usually include a wider range of ages and sizes in their models.  I'm a little surprised to not see any plus size or older models this time.   I really appreciated seeing the designs on someone closer to my size and age!

If you think you'd like to try this one, hop on over to SewBaby and order your copy!

Have you tried sewing with Ottobre before?  Do you like their style?  Which would be your first thing to make?  

Happy Sewing!


Chevron Crochet Lace Top from McCalls 6754

I know that everyone has different thoughts about buying fabric.  Should you have a plan for it when you buy it?  Do you buy the pattern first, or the fabric first?  I'm much more of a fabric first person.  Sometimes I just buy a fabric because it is different (and on sale!), but I have absolutely no clue what to do with it.  Then I wait, and wait, and sometimes wait some more, until the inspiration hits me. 

That's what happened with this fabric.  It's a chevron striped crochet lace that I picked up at Hancock fabrics last year.  I had just been to Italy and had tried on some genuine Missoni dresses, and was inspired by them, but really didn't have a vision for this fabric.  But I thought it was pretty special, and at the very least, I thought it could be a cool swimsuit cover-up.

I am teaching a class using McCall's 6754 as the base pattern later this month, and wanted to sew up a sample to show the students what it would look like in real life.  I was going through several fabric options, and then it hit me.  If I could get the chevron of the lace to match on the center front, back, and princess seams, it would be a great style for this fabric.

I still had my serger set on the rolled edge settings from my bias skirt project, and started sewing the seams before I realized that. I decided to keep the rolled edge settings so that the seams would be barely noticeable through the lacy sections.   I also used that for my hem finish.  For the neckline, I used a length of single fold bias tape.

The selvedge on the fabric looked like a piece of white rickrack, and I cut the sleeves so that this would be on the edge.  It made them a little longer than the pattern sleeve.

The only complaint that I have about this pattern is that the neckline is quite wide and low.  I  moved the cutting line in about an inch, and it is still pretty wide.

The dress form has a green cami underneath the top, and I think that will be how I wear it as well.  I think it will go with white jeans or skirts nicely.  I've made the dress once, and I think it should be a  really flattering silhouette on many shapes and sizes, which is why I chose it for the class project.  I'm excited to work with my students to see their versions of this pattern as well!

So how about you?  Do you have a strategy when it comes to buying fabric?  Are you a fabric first or pattern first kind of seamstress?

Happy Sewing!