Monday, October 31, 2016

The "Button" Cardigan

I started this cardigan last February right before I went to Sew Expo. It was really cold here and I had no thoughts of the warmer weather ahead. I just wanted to swath myself in wool to stay warm. That's how this cardigan came to be. However, when I got back from SewExpo, I had some unselfish sewing to do. After that all I wanted was to sew spring because Pullayup and Seattle were warm with spring-like temps. This encouraged me to put winter in my rear view mirror.

All of that made this cardigan fall out of sewing favor, so I hung it on the side of the fabric wall (with a few other UFOs) and moved on. Fast forward to last week when the temps took a dive here on the East Coast and I was looking for warm and cozy again.  I remembered this cardigan and since it was almost done tried to figure out what I wanted to do for closures.

See it's a basic brown cardigan, knee length with long sleeves, made from a heavier wool knit from the collection. Whew that was a mouthful! Here is my first idea for some unique hardware on the cardigan front. But when I went to try to install the pieces, I realized that I was missing some screws. I bought these pieces years ago...many, many years ago and there could have been screws then and I'd lost them in the meantime...but who knows. After discussing the hardware with Gaylen and her husband during Sew Expo, I knew I would have to go in another direction.

If you've been reading for awhile you know that I love Lafayette 148. When flipping through their fall selection I happened upon these cardigans with magnetic closures and fell in love. I thought this closure would work for the cardigan. Thus started my search through the notions stores in the Garment District for something similar and I found nothing like I saw in my head.  Loads of magnetic pieces but mostly for bag fronts and not really clothing.

Walking out of Botani I was a little disgusted. I wanted to finish this cardigan up and move on so I crossed the street to Lauren Trimming just to look. It's a newer notion store (up the street from Metro Textiles) and I found these buttons:

They are large but I was captivated by their unusual-ness. Because they are different they will add some zing to the cardigan front. However, I'm NOT making buttonholes for these. Buttonholes that large would be unattractive on the cardigan front. So, I have stitched the buttons to the front and added covered snaps to the backs.

A few more pics of the finished cardigan ~

Cardigan worn open with RTW ponte jeans and
Sewing Workshop Mission Top that I made in 2008.

Sweater coat closed and the buttons do make a statement

1. I have to be honest, I don't remember any of this cardigan's construction. I have no notes about it...which is unusual since I normally jot something down as I'm sewing...even if it is TNT. 

2. I think I used Butterick 5760 as my starting point and lengthened it. 

3. I know it's a wool knit from the collection that I believe is originally from Metro Textiles. 

4. I think I bought it with Ann of Gorgeous Things, years ago.
(Yes, that was me name dropping! *LOL*)

5. The buttons are from Lauren Trimmings purchased last week.

6. The covered large snaps are from Pacific Trimmings also purchased last week.

Of course it's gotten warm here again ~ so warm that we had to hurry up and take these pictures because I was sweltering in the cardigan. I probably won't be wearing the cardigan this week or anytime soon. However, the cold is coming so it will be perfect over jeans and a turtleneck for work during the winter months.

This should have been a quick finish to a UFO. Though it took me all dayum day to sew on five buttons and five pairs of snaps. I don't know what it was about this process that irked me but it took way longer than it should have.

I have a short sewing list of 4 pieces that I'm working on. The list is taken from my longer fall/winter sewing list of 25 items. These are the things that I want to sew right now...some are new patterns and two are repeats.

For my Thanksgiving break this year I'm planning on sewing for my daughter. We've already picked out the patterns, now we have to add fabric to them. So those plans and the items on my list are what I'm planning on sewing in November.  Unless of course, I change my mind! always more later!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A TNT Dress becomes a Tunic

I bought this linen fabric in 2015 at the Sew Expo from Marcy Tilton's booth. I loved how bold the print was and bought it thinking I'd make a TNT dress from the fabric.

The linen on the left was purchased from Marcy Tilton

That year I was at Sew Expo, I had no idea where I'd end up work wise...but I liked the fabric so I bought it. Then I made the dress up this spring, thinking that I'd wear it with a sweater to work. 

I never shared the finished dress here on the blog because TNT dresses are no longer blogged unless there is something really special about them. However, my daughter did photograph it and after viewing the pictures I never wore it. Mostly because in my opinion the fabric doesn't work for this dress.

See even I misjudge fabrics ~ because this is more of a top/jacket type of fabric. So I decided to cut it off and make a tunic to go over my skinny jeans. Since it's my wave of the future...

As you can see from the photos above the original dress was sleeveless. Using the dress' short sleeve pattern, I made new sleeves.  The bottom portion of the skirt was cut off and I placed the sleeve pattern on the side seams using the finished hemline. Cut them out and assembled like normal.

I added some darts to the back to remove the excess fabric. While this reduced some of the extra fabric, it still left the top with the boxy look that I wanted. I topstitched the hem with a double needle and the revised top was done.

I will be wearing this under a RTW or me-made jeans jacket now and later in the winter under a black cashmere cardi.  It will bring a bit of brightness to those dreary winter days.

(My #nastywoman pose!)

I'm thrilled I salvaged this amazing piece of fabric and turned it into a wearable garment. always more later!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Simplicity 8094 - A Fall Tunic

I've loved this pattern since it was issued. However, I'm such a dress girl when the weather gets warm that I knew I would never make it as a summer topper. But in a nice ponte or sweater knit for fall, yes, I can do that!

So even though the temps are up and down here lately, I decided to make my first version to wear now. I really want this in a merino wool for later in the winter cause I can always add a sleeveless turtleneck under it for warmth and wear it over my skinny jeans.

Fabric choice for version one ~
It's made from a rayon/lycra knit that I won from Elliott Berman last Thanksgiving with black ponte sleeves from Metro Textiles. When I first pulled the fabric out of the pile, I was worried that I didn't have enough to make the body of the tunic but it worked out.

Supplies ~
Stay tape
Fusible stay tape

Pattern Alterations for Version One ~
I know that this appears loose fitting on the pattern envelope, but the pattern only goes up to a size 20. So I was a little leary about how it would fit me. I added 1/2 inch to each side seam from the underarm down to the hem. I wanted to make sure that it skimmed my bodacious body. 

The biggest change was to the sleeve since the pattern only has short sleeves. I used the long sleeve pattern from my TNT dress pattern and made a pattern sandwich. TNT pattern, Simplicity pattern sliced and spread and tracing pattern on the top then I altered the pattern to insure it fit my biceps.

Those were the only changes made to the pattern pieces for version one.

Construction Info. ~
Honestly, I just glanced at the pattern instructions especially after they suggested that you sew the knit sleeves in the round. I NEVAH sew knit sleeves in the round. I always sew them in flat and that's what I did with this top.

Also, the pattern suggests that you use bias tape to finish the neckline. I mean I understand why they suggest it but my knit is a little thin and I thought this would make the neckline bulky. So I applied some fusible bias stay tape to the neckline, pressed it flat and stitched it down using a twin needle.

The other change that I made to the tunic besides lengthening the sleeve was to add a piece of the body fabric to the sleeve hem to tie the look together. I just eyeballed this but I did make sure that I added a 5/8" seam allowance to the top of the insert. 

Here's a pic of the sleeve with fabric choices ~

I also sewed the side slits lower than the pattern suggests. I didn't want the sides of my abdomen showing and scaring people so I sewed my openings to mid-hip.

A few pictures of the first tunic in action ~

I made that first version as a Sunday Sew. I wore it to work on Monday because the temps were back into the 70s-80s and it was really warm. Though after wearing it with black leggings, I kept thinking that I wanted to make it again without the side splits. I hated that the sides fell open and exposed the sides of my legs. Also the fabric is an ITY ~ thin and clingy ~ not my friend. So while I love the fabric's pattern, I was uncomfortable in how the tunic fit.

Fast forward to picture taking day and it was only in the 40s outside, so I wore a cotton tank top under it which then solved all the clinging issues. I even wore my black skinny jeans and while my side view leaves much to be desired (hahahahaha!) I liked the top much better.

Version Two ~ 

However based on wearing version one, I made a second one closing up the side seams adding godets to them. 

I made the godet pattern piece by pinning the front and back pieces together from the underarm seam down to the notch where the side seams were left open. Then I traced the opening and added 5/8" seam allowances.

To add a little more width to the front and back pattern pieces, I did a pivot and slide on the fabric adding an inch at the waistline to both pieces and two inches to the hemline. 

I also two toned the sleeves of this version using the fashion fabric that I bought from JoMars during my trip in June. The black ponte is from Metro Textiles.  The godets were made in the black ponte to tie everything together. 

Another change was the neckline. When I tried the top on to make sure that everything fit the way I wanted, I realized that I liked the neckline just as it was. So I rambled around in the notions collection and found some black foldover elastic and added it to the neckline so that it wouldn't change.

The last change was the length. This version is considerably shorter than the first one. I just didn't like this fabric in the longer length so I cut 6" off the hemline and hemmed it using a 1" hem.

A few pictures of Version Two ~

Conclusion ~
This is a simple to sew tunic. There are no big surprises and would be easy for anyone from beginner to advanced sewist to construct. What makes mine different are the design details I've added.  Long sleeves vs. short sleeves, color blocking the sleeves and adding solid color godets to the second version. I think these details give it that Chicos Chic look that I've been trying to sew lately.

I like both of these versions ~ the second just a little more than the first ~ however, I'm putting the pattern away and moving on to other patterns. Maybe I will get back to it when the weather gets colder making a merino wool version...maybe. 

The next top up is a heavier weight summer linen that I'm wearing into fall... always more later!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Vogue 8772 - A Bow Tied Blouse

This is a garment that was inspired by the fabric first. Fabric Mart had these pre-cut fabric bundles that they are now offering with a 20% off discount. I bought and sewed mine before the sale, so of course I've bought two more pieces. The fabric I purchased has sold out in the 3 yard bundles but is still available in 2 yard pieces.

When the fabric arrived I knew that my idea for it would be perfect. I wanted a bow-tied, button down, loose fitting shirt/tunic to wear over leggings or skinny jeans. Perfect for the weather now and add a cardigan in the winter which will make it perfect then too.

So I went looking for a pattern for the blouse...cause I knew I had one in my collection. Ummmm yeah right. I searched EVERYWHERE in ALL of the pattern hiding spots and what I was seeing in my head was NOT in my pattern collection! The only thing I had that might work was Vogue 8772 which is a close-fitting, bow tie blouse with darts.

I was hoping to avoid extensive pattern alterations. I looked through the patterns again to see if there was something else that I could use but the vision I had was to strong.  So I resigned myself to using this pattern and making the alterations.

Supplies ~
2.75 yards of rayon/cotton crepe from Fabric Mart
(I originally purchased 3 yards and it shrunk that much in length during the prewash!)
1/2" covered buttons
lightweight fusible interfacing for cuffs

Pattern Alterations ~
1. First I determined that I wanted 10" of ease around my bottom area...remember I wanted loose fitting tunic/blouse. 

2. To achieve that I removed the side curve on both the front and back pieces by adding an inch from the dart down in the front pattern piece and from the underarm down on the back piece.

3. On the front piece, I did a slice and spread in the front gaining 3" at the hip line and almost 4" at the hemline.

4. The back was also cut using a pivot and slide of 1.5" on the actual fabric. That helped me achieve the desired 10" of ease around the bottom of the blouse.

5. I wanted fuller sleeves than the pattern has and I needed to add space to the biceps area. So I just sliced the sleeve pattern up the center and spread ~ adding an inch to the bicep area and 2" at the hemline. The excess fabric in the sleeve was gathered into the cuff ignoring the pleat application the pattern suggests.

Cutting and Construction ~
I have a rule when cutting out a print, all of the pattern pieces must go in the same direction.  All pattern pieces either face up or down ~ not any which way, to insure that the print runs the same direction throughout the garment.

As I was laying the pattern pieces onto the fabric, I realized that I hadn't checked the shoulder seams. So I made some quick changes to the shoulder seams on the pattern to make sure they "fit" my shoulders.

Of course I did a cursory glance at the instructions and missed the part on how the top of the button band was finished. So I had to go back and fix that. If you're making the blouse, make sure you look for that part in the instructions.

As I was cutting the blouse out and thinking about the buttons, I realized I didn't want them to stand out. I wanted them to fade to the back so I decided to use covered buttons for the top. However, making 14 1/2" covered buttons was a little challenging because the pieces are small.

The one thing I will change when making this again would be to shorten the cuffs by a 1/2". They are a tad too long but I can live with them. It's the only thing making this an imperfect sew.

A few pictures of the finished blouse ~

Conclusion ~
The rayon crepe fabric was perfect for this tunic. It has a softness and a drape that really works for a loose fitting tunic. I know that this reads one big print especially since I used covered buttons from the same fabric but it's actually the look I was going for. It's crazy but I wanted it to all blend together! I think I accomplished that. 

Now that the temperatures are dropping my fall sewing list is calling my name and I've got more tops to share with you! always more later!


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Autumn Sewing Miscellany

I've been sewing...I have four tops to photograph and share with you...just haven't gotten there since my photographer has a pretty full life with four little ones, a full time job, house and mate. Next photo shoot is tomorrow so more posts next week.

Fall/Winter Wardrobe Thoughts/Ideas ~
However, as the temps have risen and fallen this week, I've started to think again about what I want to look like in my new world. Also, I'm becoming a YouTube junkie watching many of the vlogs that sewists are making because it's interesting to see their fabric & pattern choices, what styles they think are important going forward, etc.

Though all of this makes me realize that my view of what's stylish and wearable is different than that of a 20, 30 or 40 year old...even some of the more fit and stylish 50 year-olds. My fashion view truly is more JJill, Chicos and Talbots, because of my work situation and my age. I want to be fashionable, comfortable (as in clothing that doesn't fit tightly), and age appropriate. I love the 70s boho chic look, but seriously I did it best in my teenage years!

As I've been exploring more of where I want to take my sewing this fall/winter, I've decided to pass on sewing bottoms and live with RTW. Of course this has meant making some adjustments to the pieces I've purchased. I can live with that for now since these are easy alterations that put jeans into my wardrobe quickly. Sewing wise I've decided to explore the world of tops, blouses, shirts, tunics and toppers/jackets.

Here are a few shirt patterns that I've purchased recently or had in the pattern stash and want to sew this season ~

BTW, I bought a couple of Style Arc Patterns from Amazon because they have several sizes in one pattern and are shipped in 2 days if you're a Prime member. I've always liked the designs from Style Arc patterns just couldn't handle that whole shipping from Australia thing. Love that they've partnered with Amazon to get patterns to the Northern Hemisphere faster!

I will make more of Butterick 5678 since I made a couple of pieces that were winners last fall.  I wore this one to #wineandcheesewithkashi that received a lot of compliments, so I will definitely use this TNT pattern again.

This is going to be my jacket/topper of choice this season ~

I've already thought up some interesting combos which means that I'm retiring my Rachel Comey hacked pattern that I used as a topper last winter. Three versions are enough right?! *LOL*

I have some quilted fabric that I want to use to make another Tamarack Jacket. Have all the supplies on hand - just have to get on that!

There will be a lot more denim in my wardrobe since I've been purchasing some interesting pieces ~

I would like to use some of the suiting fabrics in the collection in different ways that will work in my new lifestyle.  This was a goal last fall/winter and I only used one piece of fabric from the collection for this garment. I have to admit I only wore this topper to go out with friends and never to work. It just always seemed to "fancy" for work.

Finally, I miss pumps. I've added a couple of pairs of cool sneakers to my foot gear cause boy have sneakers changed. Also a few more pairs of shoe booties...but I miss pumps! *sigh*

So more posts are coming and this is an overview of where my sewing is going for fall/winter.

Social Events ~
Even though I've done some sewing and have a few items to share, I've been way more social lately. I've been to lunch or dinner with quite a few sewing bloggers that have journeyed to NYC, sadly I have few pictures of these events. I don't know why I can't remember to take a picture! Maybe because I'm so busy enjoying their company that I don't feel a need to document it for social media.

Though we did have dinner to celebrate my girl Nettie's (Sown Brooklyn) birthday. I love this woman! These are one of those friendships that I came to through sewing that I treasure.  

The women pictured at this table are true friends not internet friends, there for me in times of trouble (thanks for holding my hand during that whole job situation) times of joy, sorrow (some of the first to see me when I got back to NYC from Houston) and for encouragement...even though Aspen has some concerns about my relationship with Jesus...hahahaha!

I need to apologize if you've been in NYC and sent me a note to meet and I was unavailable to do so because most of my meetings/social events are planned weeks in advance. I'm not in NYC every day since my job allows me to work from home some days. Also, honestly I've been burnt by meeting some sewists in person who've posted some hurtful things to internet boards about meeting me. This has made me ALOT more cautious about who I meet. So please know it's me not you! I'm sure that just put me back in the cross hairs again but to me honesty is better than deception so there it is.

It's a dreary day here so I'm in the sewing cave sewing. Hope you're having a wonderful sewing weekend too! always more later!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

#wineandcheesewithkashi 2016

About 30 women gathered at Metro Textiles last Thursday evening for some wine, some cheese and ALOT of fabric shopping! I want to thank everyone who came through and made the evening a success.  

A few photos ~
Some of the women who came out to shop

Peggy who came in to go to CampWorkroomSocial

Andrea (KnitKnac) and Arlette (arlycorr)

Clio Phineas and Rachel from House of Pinheiro

Rachel and I meeting for the first time!

Beth (SunnygalStudio), Rachel,  Claire (domesticcoquinette), Carol (makeitanywear), 
Jinxandgunner, Sonja (GingerMakes), Andrea (KnitKnac)

Kashi was thrilled with the turnout especially since he was closed for two days this week for Yom Kippur. 

One of the reasons I do this every year ~ besides the gathering together and fabric shopping ~ is to make sure that this fabric merchant endures. There have been several businesses in the garment district that have disappeared lately for various reasons. I know that we sewists can't buy more fabric than we can afford or store but these fabric stores do depend on our patronage.

So I may make this a spring and fall event next year.  If so, I hope you'll come out, shop, socialize and help insure that the garment district continues to thrive! always more later!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What I Forgot...

About a decade ago, I spent an entire day at The Worcester Sew Expo in sewing classes with my sewing hero, Cynthia Guffey. In one of the classes, she challenged me to "enjoy the process." Not to sew like the wind but to revel in the particulars of making a garment.

See, deep down in my heart, I'm a producer. What do I mean by that? I mean there are some sewists who sew using totally couture techniques. Who take their time and make sure that each part of the process is done correctly no matter how much time it takes.  Some sewists are tailors. Taking their time to go through all of the steps necessary to perfectly tailor a garment.  Some sewists like to follow the rules, make a muslin, check for perfect fit and sew a perfect garment.

That's not me. I like to produce. I like the idea of coming up with, designing, and/or copying a garment, spec'ing the fabric whether from a source or the collection and then getting it sewn up so I can wear it. In pre-internet days, it meant I allotted specific time periods for garments ~ 1 hour for an unlined skirt, 2 hours for a lined skirt, 3 hours for a pair of unlined pants, 3-4 hours for a dress...and I never lined a jacket.  It took too long! Unlined worked for me because it could be produced in a short period of time and placed in my closet.

I did slow down some after the Guffey class...and then again after I became involved with sewing boards on the Internet. I realized I could get a better result if I took more time, used better techniques, better fabrics and slowed down. Once that lesson was learned, I made some amazing garments ~ dresses mostly because I'd found my niche ~ but I was happy to take my time to get those results.

Now things have changed again and I no longer need a professional wardrobe and casual is king...I find I'm challenged to slow down again. Spending the last month sewing little girls clothing just played into that old habit ~ cause really how involved is sewing little girls everyday clothing. I was knocking out large amounts of garments in a weekend - 5/6 pieces.

I'm back to sewing for myself and I realize that I do need to take my time even if I am making tees and blouses or toppers. So my "Question of the Day" is ~ Are you a Producer, a Couture Sewist, a Tailor or just a regular Sewist who takes their time? And what makes you so? Is enjoying the process important to you? Or are you just trying to build a wardrobe?

Talk back to me because this is the Question of the Day! always more later!


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