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Archive for February, 2014

Red Denim Cheetah

Image I’ve been struggling with a 20 lb weight gain and not wanting to sew or use my fabric “stash” because I was going to lose most of that weight – any day now – really. Well, it was just time to embrace my new curves and remind myself that any size looks good when the clothes fit!

After getting my feet wet with a couple of the new, gorgeous Named patterns, it was time to focus on a new fitted sloper. I chose Vogue 8972

Vogue 8972 View A

Vogue 8972 View A

Just the pieces for the initial muslin wasn’t too bad, but after drafting in the fit changes, tracing off new pattern pieces and cutting out a total of 34 sections of main fabric and lining, it was a “What was I thinking” moment for sure! I’m glad I went there – besides the fitting and drafting, there was sewing princess curves, serging, topstitching, invisible zipper, back skirt slit and full lining – whew – it was a mini sewing course.
I have my sewing confidence back! Here’s the Flickr set all photos includes some of the petite changes and stitching pics.
complete PatternReview
This was in draft mode for almost 2 weeks – I needed a break with some easy sewing, plus wardrobe planning, got side-tracked and so didn’t get as much detail down as I had planned. My goal is to focus on the petite bodice alterations.
Next up, meet Sammi, Blair and Charlotte!




This fabric is talking to me

and it’s saying “dress!!!”. Would you believe that dress was already Named Leini

I fell in love with this pattern, OK, I admit, it’s that whole collection! This dress is a mostly a simple shift. The angled front pleats are what really make this dress something special. It’s just the right touch to distinguish this dress from all the other shifts out there.  I’m doing my best to stick to one of my resolutions to not buy any more patterns unless I’m planning on using them right away! Yeah, I should have been doing that from the start – with fabric too. What appeals to me most about this collection, is that it is both simple and sophisticated. So far I have found the drafting and fit to be excellent. These are PDF patterns, and I really appreciate that most patterns print over 12 pages – nice to save on paper and ink.

lined pleat

The instructions included are for lined/unlined bodice. My version is self-lined bodice  and nylon tricot for the skirt. This was sewn entirely on my sewing machine as sometimes the serged seam adds bulk that shows with pressing on a light weight knit like this. I used a universal needle (80) ,  lightened up the pressure a tad, straight stitch 2.8 for all seams except the waist – used the lighting bolt stitch there. I chose those stitches as the dress is loose fit and completely lined so I didn’t need to worry about stress on seams or stitches popping.

This was my first time to line a bodice without any handstitching! I owe it all to Made by Rae and her fab tutorial

Pattern Alterations: For reference, I am 5’4″, frame on the smaller side of normal, short-waisted (back waist length is barely 15″, narrow back, normal waist to hip length. Usual adjustments for me are to remove as much as an inch(sometimes more) in the armhole depth/midriff area. This pattern, I removed 2cm (.75 inches) and that will need to be replaced at waist level when I make my next version of this dress. The elastic is sitting as an empire waist – the model photo shows the waist to be at or slightly above the navel. I didn’t muslin the pattern, so had to remove all the extra length from the shoulder. Now the neck is higher than I’d like (still comfortable), waist a little high, and length a little shorter than I had planned. Despite all that, I still love this dress and can see myself living in this all summer. I wonder if I have any really big sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat!

One more week to finish the dress for the LWD contest – guess I better quit getting side tracked!


I’m sewing again!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I made huge progress on organizing my sewing closet. I still would like to make a digital swatch book at some point, but for now, I have most everything “out” where I can see it.

I signed up for the Little White Dress contest on PatternReview.com with Vogue 8972


It’s a lot of pieces! Time to get my feet wet with a couple of easy patterns first. It doesn’t get easier than this 2 piece top  – a free pattern from Tessuti – get it here http://www.tessuti-shop.com/collections/free-sewing-patterns

Photos don’t do it justice, but it’s a lovely flowy top that looks good loose or belted. It’s best to use a drapey fabric for this one.


Then there was the very classy Selja Knot tee from Named clothing. They are a new finnish pattern company. This top is from their second collection.


and finally, from the new Burda collection 6910 – a very fast sew with nicely fitted raglan sleeves. It does run big and although I went down a size, I could have gone down 2. I’ll keep it in mind for the next one.


I basted the side seams, then sewed over an old serger chain with a wide zigzg  being careful not to sew over the thread. The pattern called for an 8 inch strip of elastic, so I pulled the thread chain until it was 8″ long between the pattern notches. Then it’s back to the serger to serge over a 1/4″ wide cotton twill tape to stabilize the gathered seam. I found it was easier to get an evenly gathered side seam this way, and personally, I find the cotton twill tape to be softer than elastic in the side seams.

Now I’m ready to get back to my contest dress – I made a first pass with muslin, and will make new pattern with the alterations tomorrow – hopefully get the wearable muslin cut out too!