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Sewing is therapy for me. I hoard fabric, patterns, notions, and spend more time shopping for fabric than I care to admit...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vogue 1318


Here is another Sandra Betzina pattern from Vogue up for review.  Honestly, I have no idea what compelled me to create this vest.  I mean look at the drawing and the fabric used in the photo?  It really doesn't do this garment justice--at least in my opinion!  I love the lines, but just detest the sew-on pocket in view A.  I simply don't care for it. 

So here is the description:  Misses' vest and detachable collar: Loose-fitting, lined vest has princess seams and pining.  A: pocket and flap (cut in one), front snap closing, optional lining and piping.  B: contrast bias trim, bound-buttonholes and topstitching.  Detachable, lined collar has band, optional button and snap, B: tucks. 

This calls for upholstery fabric, quilted fabric, synthetic leather.  contrast: lightweight satin, faille, broadcloth.  Detachable Collar: Also low pile fake fur.

So, I made view B with the more traditional pockets.  I used synthetic leather from my stash.  I used a size larger for the chest and a smaller size for the waist and hips.

What did I like or dislike about the pattern? 
Well, it is different from anything I own so I thought that it would be fun to create something different.  I really wanted to use the synthetic leather I had so this fit the bill. 
With Sandra's instructions, there is nothing to dislike.  She gives many fitting hints, diagrams are clear and plentiful, and the descriptions make it easy to follow along.  Instructions for the bound buttonholes were just excellent.  I have made many welt pockets, but not bound buttonholes, so this was a new thing for me.  Sandra's hints for this are great and I think mine turned out pretty well.  :)  They would be much easier and crispier looking in a typical woven fabric. 
Love the pockets and the bias trim.  It helps you see the design details. 

Dislike: the lining and how it is attached.  I had a dickens of a time with it mostly because of the way it is shaped.  See for yourself:  Check out step 57.  That is where the problem lied for me!

It took tremendous amounts of coaxing and easing to get it to lay properly.  After struggling for a while, when I went to insert the lining into the vest I found it wasn't big enough.  I had to add a three-inch wedge from bottom to top to get it to lie properly.  I still think I may have to add a little more as there seems to be pulling at the armscye.  Despite using my usual size for Sandra's patterns, I took this vest in about two additional inches on each side.  Typically that isn't necessary for me. 

Design elements I altered:
My usual 1/2 in sway-back adjustment.  I really think I could have taken more in with this vest but didn't want it too small. 
I decided to use two different buttons on the front.  The buttons came as a set of three on one card but the smallest one was way to small. 
What you can't see is the fourth button which matches the triangular one on top. 

Make a muslin so you can decide if you like the fit or not.  Next time, if there is a next time, I will lower the pocket opening somewhat.  I am 5'7" and feel that they are a little high on me. 
If I would have had more bias in the contrasting fabric I used for the faux piping, I would have used that to finish off the edges inside the vest and ditched the lining all together.  If you wear this open, you will want something cute on the inside or a similar colored lining fabric. 

I will most likely wear this with a white long-sleeved t-shirt, black leggings, and boots.  It really is comfortable and the length is great! 

Jury is still out for me on this one.  DH loves it.  :) 
I think it is too puckery but maybe I am being too hard on myself. 

Thanks for reading!
Test fit

Vogue 1197

This is Vogue 1197, a top from Sandra Betzina. This top and pants is described as such: Semi-fitted, pullover tops A, B in two lengths have raglan sleeves, shirred with elastic and two cowl variations, optional contrast cordless piping.  Close fitting, 1" seam pull-on pants C with side slits and elastic waist.  All have stitched hems. 

The only notions you need for this top is stay tape, steam-a-seam, and elastic for the shirring. 

This pattern is designed for moderate stretch knits only and honestly, you couldn't make it in a woven if you wanted to.  Yep, it would fit over your head, but the body is more fitted than the envelope shows. 

This top is somewhat of a fabric hog.  Typcially a tunic wouldn't take that much fabric, but this one (View B) takes about 2.5 yards.  The hoggish part is the sleeves and the cowl.  Is hoggish a word? 

I used this beautiful mohair/cashmere sweater knit I purchased from Fabric Mart about a year ago.  I love it!  I purchased three yards at Four bucks a yard!  Can you believe it?  This beautiful top for less than $12!  I love how soft and warm it is. 

What can I say about this pattern?  It is fast, easy and just fits well!  Since I am rather full-chested, I cut a larger size in the bust area and the next size smaller through the waist and hips.  I also made my usual 1/2 inch sway back adjustment by taking a wedge out from the waist line area and tapering out to nothing at the side seam. 

There are many fitting tips from Sandra, and since I have used her patterns before, I really didn't read them. 

I made a few minor adjustments to the pattern as I sewed simply because it made it easier for me.  Here they are:
1.  After sewing the front sleeve to the back, I fused 1" wide strips of interfacing to the hemline to stabilize it so it didn't stretch when I hemmed it.  Since the wrist seems a little narrow, I completed that step prior to sewing anything else so it would lay flat. 
2.  I attached the stay-tape to the neckline prior to attaching the cowl.  After stitching on the cowl, I turned the seam so it faced the top and on the outside top stitched two rows of a stretch stitch to keep the seam from rolling and also to cover the stay-tape.  Sometimes stay tape is a little itchy.   This covered the tape beautifully and is in no way itchy. 
3.  Instead of using the steam-a-seam, I used 1" strip of interfacing on the hemline.  It stabilized it beautifully and kept it nice as I hemmed it. 

All in all, this is a great pattern.  If you have passed it over because of the pattern envelope, give it a go.  It fits well, lends itself to some fun variations based on fabric choice and is comfortable!  What more could you want?

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Simplicity 1943

This is such an easy little jacket that I made for DD2.  This is for a store display and DD2 liked the shape of the jacket, so I let her pick out the fabric. 

Here is the description from the back of the envelope: Misses' knit and woven jackets.  That is it!!!  Here is my equally brief description: There are six variations on this jacket with different sleeve lengths, jacket lengths, shapes, etc. 
Fabrics: A, B sized for stretch knits only: Cotton interlock, jerseys, lightweight double knits, stretch velvet, Novelty knit fabrics.  C, E, F in damask, pique, sateen, linen,. etc. 

I was required to make view F, which looks like a little bolero jacket.  DD2 choose a silky print that was very spring-like.  It really wasn't ideal for this pattern so I adapted and cut a layer of organza and used it as a second layer of fabric.  I love the berry colored lining fabric she choose.  How fun will this be to wear? 

I believe that my creation looks like the pattern envelope. 

What did I like?  Dislike?
This was so unbelievably easy it was just embarrassing.  It is nicely finished off with all inside seams are covered by the lining. 
What I didn't like, and this is minor, is that there is a center back seam that does nothing for garment shaping.  It isn't needed at all.  Since this was the store display and I will be teaching others how to make this jacket, I cut and sewed it as the pattern was written. 
I also don't like how the side seams are stitched.  I just think there is a better way to get a nicer finish.  I will have to experiment with that. 

Changes: DD2 is rather petite so I shortened the jacket by 2 inches.  I used her measurements and compared those the the envelope to determine how much to shorten it.  She wasn't here for a final fitting, so I hope it works!  I am about 5 inches taller than she, so I didn't think I would be a good model for her. 
I understitched the lining so it wouldn't roll to the outside and show.  That isn't mentioned in the instructions but really should be added. 

This is just super easy, can be made in a variety of fabrics and has some nice design choices on the envelope.  For those of you with teen or 20 something daughters, they will love it!  It would also be very cute over a spaghetti-strap dress if you need a little coverage. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Voge 8863 Failure!

Here is my latest creation--well, almost a creation.  Read on, if you are intrigued! 

Here is the photo, cute, right? 

Here is the description from the back of the envelope: Loose-fitting, lined jacket has front extending into standing back collar, underarm gusset, right side welt/pocket, lower sleeve attached to lining, exposed zipper, uneven front hemline, and purchased applied trim.
What isn't included is that the upper sleeve is unhemed.  Katherine, on her blog, encourages you to upcycle a sweater to use for the lower sleeves.  Which I did do and you can see those below. 

Here is my first creation:
Did it look like the photo?  Yes, I think it does.  But guess what, I just don't like it.  I don't think that it is me.  So, since I invested a fair amount of time on it. I decided to see if I can revise it to make it more my style.  See more info below on that. 

How about the directions? 
Directions were easy to follow except I did a little head-scratching when it came to the collar.  The right front piece is cut with the sleeve and collar piece attached. That is a picture of the piece above.  It is sort of like a puzzle at first, until you start messing with the collar and then it makes more sense. 

There are a few typos/mistakes when you reach step 33.  The directions tell you to pin the front edge of the right front lining to the facing.  What they don't tell you to do is go ahead and stitch, which is what the illustration shows.  Also, in step 34, you are instructed to sew, but the illustration shows that you sew from the top to the small circle and then it looks like you leave an opening and sew from the bottom to another mystery dot.  I didn't sew from the bottom up.  It didn't make sense to me. 

What did I change? 
First things first....for round 1, there was no way I was going to hem a fleece jacket by hand, so I ended up bagging the lining by wrapping the front and back of the jacket up burrito style and sewing the lower edge.  Thank goodness I didn't sew one of the sides up to a small inch or so opening.  If I had done that, I don't think I could have gotten the entire thing flipped right side out! 
You can see how that looks here:

In step 37 you are supposed to sew the neck seams together loosely by hand....no way.  I pinned everything together and stitched in the ditch on the collar seam so that it all stayed together.  Maybe if I had used wool or something nicer than fleece, but I am not hand sewing. 

Round 2..since I just didn't like this jacket, this are my attempted changes. 
First issue for me, I just didn't like the exposed zipper.  It is attached to ribbon trim per the directions, only couldn't find any ribbon I liked.  So, I used a fat quilting cotton that had both purple and grey in it.  I hoped it would tie the lower sleeves, jacket body, and grey zipper together.  No one liked it, not me, DH, or DD2.  Dang.  So, I took the zipper off and attached three purple buttons and three hair elastic bands.  Better?  I thought so.  Then I decided I needed to tackle the lower sleeves.  With the print trim removed, the dark grey didn't look right.  I purchased some purple knit that matched the jacket fleece and it didn't look right either.  Sorry, I don't have a picture of that. 

Next, before wadding this up and burning it, I decided I'd try and extend the sleeves.  Well, as you can see from the photo above, I don't think that it looks right.  So for now, the jacket is going to hang out on Gracie until I either need her for something else or until inspiration on how to fix this hits hard.  :) 

Fabric used: Deep purple fleece I ordered on-line.  I think I purchased it from Fabric Mart? 
The lining was a failed dyeing project my daughter and I attempted.  It is cotton and works great for this. 

Alterations: I made my usual 1/2 inch sway-back adjustment. 

Would I recommend it to others?  Well, yes, if you really like a funky style as this.  I thought I did until I put it together.  Sorry Katherine Tilton, it didn't work for me.  The welt pocket came together well and the pocket is nice and deep, perfect for a jacket. 

Conclusion: If I can figure out a way to make the sleeves work, I will try to salvage this.  If not, I spent about 6 hours between cutting, stitching and scratching my head.  All down the drain.  Bummer, I hate it when that happens.  I hope you have better results than I!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My acceptance! Wow!

I simply can't believe it, I was awarded this wonderful honor by a sewing friend with the pen name, art attack.  Here is her link:myartattack.blogspot.com With all the bloggers out there, I am just thrilled that she thinks I am inspiring!  Wow, how cool is that? 
My art attack

Well, in following the rules of this esteemed award, I will pass this onto some of my favorites that are out there!  First step is the review the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you
2. Add The One Lovely Blog Award / The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.
3. Share 7 things about yourself.
4. Pass the award on to 10 nominees (or a few less if you are short on time)
5. Include this set of rules.
6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blogs.

So, here are 7 things about me that you would have no way of knowing:

1.  I consider my greatest accomplishment is to have raised four beautiful, smart, creative children that are well-adjusted and just all around great adults.  :)   On second thought, maybe some of you do know this as I tend to brag about my greatest accomplishment! 

2.  If there is one thing I could do all over again, it would be to have taken up the violin instead of the piano. 

3.   I am a special education teacher for children birth to five years old. 

4.   When I was a kid, I would spend all summer playing school with all the neighbor kids.  I was the teacher, or course! 

5.  I used to sell Tupperware.  It was a mistake, I know! 

6.  I am afraid of being lonely as I grow old.

7.  I really wish I would have had two more children.  I always wanted six! 

And now...the envelopes please! I would like to pass the love on to the following blogs:
My oldest daughter, Emily, has a wonderful blog that she calls cosmosandcashmere.  She knits, sews, spins her own yarn, etc.  She is such a risk-taker when it comes to creativity.  I really admire that in her.  http://cosmosandcashmere.blogspot.com/
Marcy Tilton.  Enough said. Yes, I know it probably isn't fair to nominate a professional seamstress and pattern designer, but what the hey, I can nominate whomever I'd like.  :)   http://marcytiltonblog.blogspot.com/
Jilly Be Joyful.   She is always smiling and it is no wonder why, her creations are lovely!  http://jillybejoyful.blogspot.com/2012/12/bring-on-rain-soho-raincoat.html
Miss Celie's pants.  She is cute, takes great pictures and makes some lovely outfits.  http://missceliespants.com/2012/12/28/burda-magazine-92012-130-purple-friday-side-gather-pullover/
That is it for now.  There are many other worthy nominates, is that a word?  However some of my favorite sewers don't blog.  They just write sewing pattern reviews. 
Have a wonderful and creative year!
Sue :) 

Vogue 8839

This is such a cute Marcy Tilton jacket.  The picture below is one I swiped from Marcy's blog.  I think her fabric is just gorgeous!  See for yourself:

Here are the line drawings so you can see some of the details more clearly. 

On the pattern envelope, the jacket is described like this:
Misses' jacket: Loose-fitting jacket has contrast reverse side, front extending into collar, front, sleeve, and lower bands, side front seams, welt pockets, darted sleeve cap, no shoulder seams and topstitching.  Bands are cut on crosswise grain of fabric. 
What isn't mentioned is that the edges are left naked--my new term for unfinished edges.  Also there is a double collar.   

This pattern comes in two different size combinations: Y or XS to M or ZZ L to XXL. 
I started with a size medium.  More on alterations to follow. 

I chose this fabric from none other than Marcy Tilton's website.  I love the color combination. 

This is a wool double knit.  Not only do I love the colors, but the drape and quality is wonderful!  It sewed like a dream, is not itchy like some wools are and I machine washed and dried it! 
I also choose it so that I could use the reverse side for the contrast bands that are pretty darn cool on this jacket.  It worked beautifully to just reverse the fabric for the contrast bands. 

This jacket is designed for moderate stretch knits: Wool Jersey, sweatshirt fleece and double knit.  The only notions needed are some remnants of fusible interfacing for the welt pockets. 

I choose this pattern for the front collar, overall shape, and the combination of using the contrasting fabric.  I found the pattern easy to put together meaning all the notches and pieces worked as directed!  I am not sure I would rate a pattern that has a welt pocket as 'easy'.  I wouldn't want a beginner to pick up this pattern and feel like this would be a success.  It isn't difficult by any means, it is just that welt pockets can be a little finicky, especially in a knit. 

So what did I like, dislike? 
I love the styling.  I choose to make view B, which is longer than view A.  I wanted to wear this with leggings and boots.  It just covers my hind-end so the boots and leggings work. 
I really love the styling and the way this is put together.  There are just enough designer finishes and creativity that you feel like this is more than just your ordinary garment.  The sleeves are also really long.  I don't mind that at all, I like them rolled as you can see in the picture. 

Raw edges in a sweater knit.  Since I couldn't bring myself to leave the edges raw, I used my rolled hem on my serger with black thread and liked it a lot.  It gave me just the little bit of assurance I needed. 

This jacket was much boxier than I had hoped for.  Although it should have been expected, I  mean look at the model.  What was I thinking? 

Changes I made:
I took this is a lot through the side seams--almost four inches.  I also took it in two inches at the front side seam.  I could have alleviated this problem by cutting a smaller size.  I made a medium.  I should have started with a small. 
I opted to not use the welt pockets.  I just don't like pockets in a sweater knit.  I never use them, so I left them off. 
I also made my usual 1/2 " sway-back adjustment. 

I think this jacket has some fun possibilities.  Fabric choices are pretty much unlimited--I think this would work well in a stretch woven, provided it has some drape. 
I will most likely tackle this again in the future but will start with a size small. 

Thanks for reading!

Vogue 1275

Sandra Betzina's Misses' top: is close-fitting, pullover top has neck binding and optional stitched hem on lower edge.  A: ruched front and elastic forms ruched effect on sleeves.  B: self-lined sleeves with ruffles. 

Sandra's sizing is different with A-J all included in one envelope.

The top has a princess seam with dart, shirring and trim details and the instructions are written by Sandra. 

Notions needed are Steam-a-seam lite and optional double needle and wooly nylon.  For view A, you need 3/4 yard of 1/4" clear elastic. 

This doesn't take that much fabric: 1 5/8 yard for size E (long sleeves) .  You must use a knit for this top. 

I purchased this knit from Marcy Tilton.  I love the colors.  Purple is one of my favorites and this has a wonderful plumy-purple in it.  It is super soft, drapey, and the cut edge only slightly rolls.  

It really feels great on your skin! 

With Sandra's sizing, I find it if I use my bust measurement for the top (duh, right?) and grade down a size through the waist and hips, I get a good fit. 

What did I like/dislike? 
I love the styling of the top.  It has the ruching but not too much.  I love the elastic treatment on the sleeves. 
Some reviewers mentioned the craziness of the neckline and how it was attached.  I tried it as the pattern was written and didn't like how wide the band was.  I removed the band, cut an inch off and reapplied.  I like it much better now. 

What changes did I make:
I added some top stitching around the neckline and down the front band. The seam would stand up, if that makes sense, and found that if I stitched it down it stayed put. 
I also stitched along the seam on the sleeve for about an inch so that the hem wouldn't pop out to the right side when I was wearing it. 
I made my usual 1/2" swayback adjustment.  Other than that, this is a great basic t-shirt pattern. 

I will most likely put this together again.  I am really intrigued by B, but not sure if I will use the shoulder ruffles.  You can make this long sleeved version with or without the ruching, so it is a pretty versatile pattern. 

Thanks for reading!