Oct 072014

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, everyone!

Is it me, or do these Wednesdays keep coming around faster and faster?

2014 10 08 woyww sewing sweaters

Anyhow, just a quick peek at my desk today.  I’m sorting out pattern pieces for four different sweaters.

vogue 8691-knit-top-w-ruffles

You see, the pink fabric on the right is going to be the top right view of this sweater…


…which I first made last fall, and still love, btw.


But that pink fabric is also going to be the top contrast on this top…


…which I also made last fall.

That second to right fabric is actually an eggplant purple, which is going to be the middle contrast on the above top. It’s also going to be a turtleneck from the McCalls pattern.

The black on the far left is going to be the bottom part of the pieced top, and the grey beside it will be the cowl neck sweater in the McCalls pattern.

Didja follow all that? Ha!

So you can see why I had to take a little time to lay out which pattern pieces are going to be cut out of what.

Tomorrow I will boldly start cutting and hope I didn’t mess up. Otherwise there will be redesigning. 😀

I hope you’re having a wonderful week. If you want to see what’s on the desks of other crafty (in a good way) people, check out our weekly blog link party over at Julia’s.

Happy creating!



Apr 292013

The great thing about taking the time to make fitting adjustments to a pattern is that you can go back to it time and again, confident of good results.


This tropical print fabric wanted to become a summer top.


No, it did NOT want to be pants, like Threads magazine did here.  ===shudder===

I was thinking of a simple button-down Hawaiian shirt, but all the button down shirt patterns in my collection have princess seams.  I didn’t think chopping up this large scaled print would do it any favors, and so decided to make another version of Butterick 5218, (this link brings you to a review of the pattern) which I had just completed in a different fabric.


Since I’d just made it, and did all the fitting work, it went super quick.  


The only change was to make it a tad bit shorter, as the rayon is more drapey that the linen I used in the other tunic.

Count another project down and onward to the next!

Happy sewing. 🙂

Apr 262013

I’ve been sewing like crazy lately, really wanting to finish up several projects that have been hanging around undone for way too long.  It was over two years ago that I bought the fabric to make this dress.


This is another in Simplicity’s line of Amazing Fit patterns.  They are great for those who are learning how to fit patterns as they give tips and instructions throughout telling you where to baste, then check for fit and what you should be looking for.  Also, key fitting areas have 1-inch seam allowances.


Today I sewed the last stitch on this dress.  If I’d realized how light the fabric was before I got started, I may have underlined it for a bit of support.

Time to get some strappy black sandals so I can wear this to a wedding next month. 🙂

Simplicity 2174 Pattern Review

Pattern Description: Dress in 2 lengths, with short, three-quarter sleeves or sleeveless, two shaped neckline options and in-panel pockets.

Pattern Sizing: My pattern envelope only went up to a 14, but I needed a few more inches. I was very thankful for the 1-inch seam allowances!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it’s cute.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions are great for those learning how to get a good fit in garments.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I Love, LOVE patterns that have different pattern pieces for A,B, C & D cups; this saves so much aggravation. I wasn’t sure about the pockets, but they turned out surprisingly flattering and very practical.

All that basting and trying on for fit is tedious, but worth it. 🙂

The short sleeves are quite short. I debated about making the longer sleeves and wish I had (but I was thinking about this being a summer weight dress.)

Fabric Used: A 100% rayon challis from Fabric.com. It’s a bit flimsy, and could have stood an underlining.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I used much narrower seam allowances in order to get a good fit (probably could have started with a size 16.)

I used an invisible zipper, so didn’t sew the bottom of the center back seam until the zip was installed.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I don’t wear dresses very often, so I probably won’t. Also, after looking at this one, I think I prefer princess seam dresses without a waistline seam.

I would recommend lining at least the bodice if you use a lightweight fabric.

Conclusion: A cute and easy dress with helpful fitting tips in the pattern.

Apr 192013

I’ve been sewing up a storm this past week.  After going through my stash of patterns and fabrics I really felt like it was wrong to have spent so much on that pile of supplies and not have anything to show for it.

I am determined to empty at least one of my two boxes full of patterns & fabrics before working on anything else.

So far this week I’ve made:

Anyhow, today’s post is about this dress:


This pattern first came to my attention through another blogger.  I loved all the flowing drapey-ness (if that’s not a word it should be) and got it at Joannes’ next 99¢ pattern sale.

I bought the jaguar/leopard print fabric from Fabric.com last fall.  I have NO idea why.  (It was the same order in which I got three yards of grey sweater knit which I will never, ever wear, so I’m guessing my state  of mind was  in a very weird place.)

As it turns out, there was exactly enough and it was the right kind of fabric for this pattern, so here it is.


Um, yeah. Me Jane.

This look is WAY more bold than I usually do, but it was an interesting project to sew.

By the way, which boots do you like better?  The tall calf hugging ones above or the wider but shorter ones?


Butterick 5749 Pattern Review

Pattern Description: Partially lined dress has bias front pleated bodice, bias midriff, slightly shaped front hemline, invisible side zipper and narrow hem. Designed for soft two-way stretch knits.

Pattern Sizing: According to the measurements I needed an 18. I cut out the 16 and it was perfect.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, although the print hides the pretty, drapey lines, so I think I’d do it in a solid if I did it again.

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were fine. Other reviewers mentioned some errors in the photos in the instructions, but I didn’t notice them. I read through the directions before I started, getting a visual of how things went together. I didn’t refer to them much after that.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the side zipper, don’t think I’ve done one before. I also really like the style of this dress. It’s very flattering.

I like that the dress was lined, but thought it was silly that only the bodice and midriff were lined and not the skirt. I lined the skirt as well. Just purchase the same amount of lining (in a stretch knit) as dress fabric.

Fabric Used: A hatchi sweater knit from Fabric.com. It has a lovely soft cottony feel, but is actually 75% poly, 20% rayon and 5% lycra. Never would have guessed.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: A few reviewers mentioned that the neckline was a bit low so I shortened the length of the cowl neck edge.

To do that adjustment, draw a line along the center front of the bodice front piece, from neck edge to waist edge. Decide how much you want to reduce the neckline. Make a mark half that distance to either side of the drawn line at the neck edge. (I reduced mine by 3 inches, so my marks were 1 1/2 inches to either side.)

Next, cut along this line, leaving just a bit of tissue connected at the waist edge for a hinge. Pivot the two pieces until the marks at the neckline meet. Secure with tape or my personal favorite, repositionable scrapbook adhesive.

The skirts looked rather short to me on the pattern cover, so I added 6 inches to the length.

Finally, I forget where I read this tip, but thought it was brilliant.  I tacked a small drapery weight to the inside center of the cowl neck edge.  This keeps the wrong side from flipping out and keeps it draping nicely.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would recommend this to others. It’s a pretty style, and goes together fairly easily. I don’t need many dresses, but like it enough to maybe make another.

Conclusion: A pretty, flattering dress. Make it in a solid for maximum impact of the drapes and curves.

Jun 252012

So, I finished this top in time to wear on Sunday.


The fabric is an eyelet from Joann’s.  I love the texture and interest the mottled dye gives.  The first version of the top had the two rows of ruffles like in view B or C,  inspiring me to tell myself, “My, don’t you look fluffy.”

The upper row of ruffles was immediately chopped off, then pressed and stitched under.  Ack, such a pain.


The pattern is an oldie, from 1994.  The few folks who have a copy for sale online are calling it “vintage.”  Really?  Eighteen years old is vintage?

Anyhow, since the pattern has long been out of print, I’m not going to do a formal pattern review.  But I will share a few things I learned/was reminded of while making this.

1.  Sewing with eyelet – If you choose to use eyelet for a main fabric, hold it up to your body to see just how big the holes are.  The holes in my eyelet are about 1/8″ across, just a bit too big for comfort, so I decided to line the bodice front and back with the lightest weight batiste I could find.

2.  A lining can save you work – Lining a garment with a shaped hem is awesome! It saves you having to do a narrow hem on that curve. It also saved me from having to do a bias binding around the armholes.  Woot!

3.  Check the finished measurements before choosing a size to sew – It’s always a good idea to check the finished garment measurements to determine what size to make.  If I had made the size indicated by my measurements, there would have been 16 inches of wearing ease.  As it was, I made two sizes smaller and still have 12 inches of ease.  Yes, it’s a peasant blouse, but seriously?

4.  Read the instructions first – It’s also always a good idea to read through the directions before starting, visualizing each step.  This way you may spot errors, inconsistencies, or just silly ways of doing things.

The neckline ruffle was narrow hemmed on one long edge, then gathered and sewn, right sides up, to the top of the blouse.  Then the raw edge was supposed to be turned under and stitched down to form the elastic casing.

If I had thought about it more carefully, I would have realized it made much more sense to press under that raw edge before gathering.  It was rather a nightmare to do it afterwards.

Hope you find those tips helpful.

All in all, I’m pleased with my new top and plan to make another.  The changes I’ll be making for the next one:

  • make one size smaller
  • make only one ruffle to begin with
  • narrow hem both long edges of the ruffle before attaching to the blouse

Bonus tip: Write down any corrections and observations. If you figure out changes like my list above for a pattern, make sure to write them down and keep them with the pattern.  That way you won’t have to reinvent the wheel the next time you pull it out to sew something.

Happy creating!


May 152012

Hey all!  I can hardly believe another Wednesday has rolled around already.  (If you don’t know why that’s significant, then you obviously have not yet been acquainted with the phenomenon that is What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  Check it out.  Then we won’t be the only ones frittering away our mid week days surfing the crafting desks of the world.)

If my desk today appears rather schizophrenic, well, that’s probably cuz that’s how my brain has been operating lately.


All of my polymer clay tools and supplies have been shoved to the top of the table.  This was to make way for some work on jewelry, including this video tutorial I made last week.

The jewelry supplies you see out now are for my next project, which will also be a video.  To the right are the remnants a a small project I sent off to a special someone today. ‘Nuff said about that.

The shallow boxes were used to hold my jewelry in need of repair, all of which I took care of this weekend, with the exception of the one bracelet.  That repair will be a bit of a challenge.  The latest tiger and cat sculptures now occupy the larger box.

The new package of Perfect Pearls, Jewel Tones was only purchased becauseI simply had to use up a 50% off coupon at A.C. Moore.  🙂  I plan to use them mostly on polymer clay sculpture, but am open to any options.

What you don’t see in the photo are these two loverly pieces of fabric.


One is a leopard print, which I’m dying to make this  swishy skirt out of.


It’s more like I’m dying to wear it.  I picture it with my black leather buckled boots.  Oh yeah.


This other is a print for this dress, which I’m also eager to wear.  mccalls-6507-dress-pattern

Of course, if I opt to make either of the garments everything has to be moved off the table.  (I picture an arm, swiping it all into a box.  Or the floor. Whatever.)

This is why my brain is in a frenzy, I just don’t know where to start.  Augh.

So, I’m going to let you all vote.  Should I:

  • make a jewelry video?
  • play with polymer clay? (I’m thinking a project from Fairies, Gnomes & Trolls)
  • work on developing a cool idea I have for my Etsy shop?
  • sweep it all aside and make a dress?
  • sweep it all aside and make a skirt?

I’ll count your votes in the morning. 😉

Right now, my brain hurts and it’s bedtime.  So I’m going to go read Tiger’s Voyage.  Again.

Happy Trails and Happy Creating!

Aug 202011

Hi everyone, I’m back!  Didja miss me?

What?  You didn’t notice I was gone?

Well, that’s ok too, lol.

It’s been a crazy week around here, I was off working all day every day except Thursday.   I spent all day Thursday steam cleaning all the downstairs carpets, my upholstered recliner AND my car.  Phew.

Today I hope to get everything back to rights in my sewing room, and maybe even do some crafting.  In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy this free pattern from Hot Patterns.


Aug 152011

Last week I mentioned I’d be revising a review for Simplicity 2364.

I was not at all happy with the fit of this top the first time around, but with a little bit of effort managed to make this :


…out of this:


Ah, much better.

Now that the fitting issues were solved, I made this:


(Yup, still MORE of that raspberry fabric.)

For the updated review and a quick tip on how to make easy alterations to your patterns, check out Pattern Review – Simplicity 2364.

Happy creating!

Aug 082011

I wasn’t too sure about all the ruffly little flowers on this top, but I’m so glad I went ahead and added them.  If the top is still worth wearing once all this frouffiness goes out of style, well, I can just snip them off.  ***grin*** simplicity-2409

Anyhow, I’m really happy how this one came out.


Here’s a close up of the flowers:


And here’s my review of the pattern:

Pattern Description: Khaliah Ali collection
Misses top with 6 variations, front bodice has front neck yoke from shoulder to underbust, and bias cut cowl style collar at neckline, ruffled v-neck or 3d flower embellishment, side and sleeve front and back are cut as one with a back bodice, top is gathered onto a lower front and back bodice by means of elastic in casing within seam. Various sleeve options include long, long ruched with elastic, no sleeves, very short or short ruffled sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:10,12,14,16,18 (According to my measurements I should have made a 16. I made a 12 and it fits perfectly. This seems to be the way of things lately with Simplicity, McCall’s and Butterick patterns.  Rather annoying, I think.)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow? The ones I followed were fine. I made some changes and went in my own direction in some areas, though.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Overall I really like this top. I wouldn’t mind if the neckline were just a tad higher. I’d like the skirt to be a little less full (less of the potential pregnant look.)

Fabric Used: Cotton jersey

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made view E with the view C neck ruffle.

After reading several other reviewer’s comments about not liking the bias tape finish, I decided to fully line this top and skip the bias tape altogether. I think this is a nicer looking finish, and it’s easier! (Keep in mind you’ll need additional fabric.)

To do this you just need to cut twice as many pieces as called for out of pattern piece #’s 1, 2, 3 and 4. First sew all the shoulder seams, then sew the lining pieces to the outer garment pieces at the underarm and neckline seams. Open out the side seams to sew the fronts and back together. Then carry on with the pattern directions.

Adding the Ruffled Flowers: If you decide to go with the ruffled flowers, I highly recommend you first pin them onto the garment and then (carefully) try it on. I found I preferred them to be clustered more closely together than shown on the pattern front.

Before I gathered each circle I went around the edges with a distressing tool to get the fraying started.  (I did the same on the neck ruffle.) For just a little something extra I added three seed beads to the center of each small flower and five seed beads to the center of each large flower.

Conclusion: Another really cute top!

Jul 272011

Today’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday photo catches me in the midst of sewing dresses.  Last night I finished my second version of Simplicity 2219.  I made the sleeveless version in blue tricot for a nightgown.  The magenta pile you see is the version with flutter sleeves that I cannot wait to wear to church on Sunday.

Although a more detailed review is forthcoming, I have to say that I LOVE this pattern.  (I was planning to write the review today, but got invited to hang out at a friend’s pool this afternoon.  Um, yeah… see ya tomorrow!)

2011 07 27 what's on your workdesk wednesday-sewing dresses

The next dress I make will be McCalls 5838 out of that sweet white fabric with the hearts for my granddaughter’s third birthday.  The light blue will be the sash and sleeves.  Can you say adorable?

Although I haven’t been blogging much lately, I have been busy sewing.  I’ve got several reviews and crafty projects planned for ya’ll over the next few weeks, so keep watching this space!

If you’re wondering why in the world I’m posting a photo of my workdesk, go here to learn all about What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday and travel the world via the desks of creative folks from all over.

Happy creating!