Archive for September, 2011


The trench has sleeves

September 28, 2011

So there’s a little icon on the right hand side of my blog indicating that I signed up for the Trench Sew A Long in June 2010. This means I’ve had this trench coat hanging over my head since then. I got it all cut out and then my cat got sick and my husband’s grandfather passed away, and we adopted his cat, and my first cat got better, and the house was full of family…oh and then I got promoted and have been running full tilt ever since.

But I finally made progress on the coat and, after several tries as usual, I got the sleeves on it.


As of last night, I’ve also added shoulder pads and finished the lining and pinned it in place. Now I just need to do the belt loops, sleeve features, hemming and buttons and buttonholes.

…I may never get it done.


A Tops SWAP dress

September 15, 2011

This is my version of the dress from Vogue 8701.

This dress and the challenges it brings are the reasons I chose to focus my SWAP on fitting  bodices. I’m not entirely thrilled with the way this dress fits. I find it to be somewhat tight where it should be loose and loose where it should be tight. I think I will probably try it again sometime with different fabric.  

One of the main issues I have with it is the neckline. I love the V at the back. It’s one of the major features that made me want to make this dress, but the opening is too wide for me and shows my bra straps which is something I prefer not to do at the office. As a result, I tend to wear a cardigan with the dress…

…and I think that solves the problem for now. My wildcard item for this year’s SWAP is the blazer from this pattern so once I have finished that, this dress will have a go to jacket.

I still think that I would like to try to make the dress again out of a non satin fabric. I originally wanted to make the dress out of a lightweight white linen but my local fabric chain didn’t have any when I was in there (I have been unimpressed with their selection lately) so I went with the shiny sateen polka dots. I think I will try it again in the near future when I find the right fabric.


Semi formal

September 12, 2011

Weddings tend to be preceded by showers and bachelorette parties and this summer I managed to be invited to a couple of both. One involved wearing yoga pants and then going out on the town so  I wanted a top I could do both with. Burda 7866 seemed to fit the bill. I tried something different with it by gathering the waist panel so it would be more, ahem,  forgiving to my waist which has thickened up a bit with the work related stress I’ve been dealing with lately. 

I used a blue cotton jersey that is very comfortable and drapes nicely.

The pencil skirt is my third version of Vogue 7937. I used fabric I had left over from a skirt I made years ago. It’s a “mixed fibres” fabric that has the tiniest bit of stretch in it so it clings a bit.

The whole outfit is really comfortable and looks nice. Expect more versions of both of these patterns in the future.


Rachel Comey Blouse: finally got it right!

September 9, 2011

I’ve only been talking about making Vogue 1170, the Rachel Comey blouse forever. I did make a version last summer, but I wasn’t so thrilled with how it turned out:

I chose the wrong fabric for it in using a raw silk that just had too much structure. It made the fabric gathered into the knot stand up like a bow tie.

I also think I just simply cut out the wrong size and wound up making it too big. I kind of felt like I was swimming in it.  I may find a way to make it work but I wanted to try it again to see if I could get it right.

So I did it again as one of my replacement SWAP pieces. Instead of the lovely silk, I selected a much more slippery polyester remnant piece that I bought for about $3.00 (gotta love using sale fabric to make up designer patterns). It actually looks a lot like the fabric the model is wearing on the pattern envelope which was not planned but seems to have been a good idea.

Here that is for comparison:

I cut out a smaller size this time to make it clingier and I used french seams. This is the pattern that made me fall in love with them after all.

As you can see. It’s just a better fit:

Once again, the new skill for this outfit was buttonholes. I often wonder how easy buttonholes are for people with 1 step buttonholers. My machine claims to have a 6 step button holder but it’s mostly just a lot of tight, strategic zigzagging – and I’m not very good at it.

I do love these buttons though so I’m hoping no one notices the wonky holes.

Here’s to another wardobe staple.


Replacing a wadder with flames

September 5, 2011

More SWAP.

Remember how I struggled with a couple of wadders early on in the SWAP sewing phase? I had facing that wouldn’t stay hidden on Butterick 5354 and several issues with McCalls 5662 some of which I am inclined to blame on the way the pattern was drafted. The directions actually called for me to handstitch the band in place which seemed a little odd since it was a stretch fabric only pattern.

I decided then that I would replace those two pieces with others.  I replaced one by making yet another version of Butterick 4395 (now so far OOP that I cannot find an image of it on the Butterick website) in a flame coloured sateen. It appears both of my replacement SWAP pieces are made from serendipitous finds in the remnants bin.

 It is a pseudo wrap top with a gathered waist that drops into a decorative tail at the front on one side and has an invisible side zipper.

The invisible zipper was my new skill for this item and I definitely struggled with it. I find with invisible zippers I tend to stitch too close to the zipper and wreck the zipper or I’m too far out and the zipper isn’t invisible. I rather enjoy the visible zipper trend going on now for this reason.

I also altered the sleeves by taking the original sleeve piece and extending it and rounding it out at the bottom to give the sleeves a slight medieval effect.

Here it is with the denim SWAP  skirt.


Back to the Swap: Silk blouse

September 2, 2011

I did not complete the SWAP in time. Congratulations to both entrants and to the winners. You both did beautful work and raised the bar on photo taking. I  need a nicer setting than my driveway.

I bowed out a few days before the deadline as I realized there was just no way I was going to get everything done in time. I did not, however, stop sewing the SWAP items. I still hope to get them done this year since I bought the patterns and the fabric.

One I did manage to make before the deadline was McCalls 5661 view D. The new skill for this one was buttonholes.

I made it from a creamy raw silk that I bought from Fabricmart last year and it’s become a wardrobe staple for me.

I love the way it’s loose but still follows my curves and I like the way it drapes in general. After my not so successful attempt at using this fabric last year, I’m glad I finally found the right project for it.

The buttonholes turned out alright although with this blouse I probably could have gotten away with non functional buttonholes since these buttons are not necessary for me to put the blouse on or take it off.

I really like the buttons down the back look. I think this is mostly because I can indulge my love for buttons without attempting to make a front closing blouse  fit me properly…something I will attempt to do later as I sew through my SWAP choices.

Oh and the skirt is also from the SWAP. It is  McCalls 5429 view B and it was the first item I actually thought turned out well. I wore it all spring until the heat hit.