Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Last Post of Twenty Seventeen

I wanted to record all of my makes for twenty seventeen - so that's what this post is about. I'm spending the last day of twenty seventeen and the first day of twenty eighteen sewing.

Some stats:
I made 50 garments this year. A number that I'm a little surprised at because that pretty much works out to a garment a week!

5 Simplicity 8059 cardigans
5 Cashmerette Concord short sleeve tees
5 TNT long sleeve shirts
4 New Look 6340 dresses
4 Cashmerette Concord tee dresses
2 Cashmerette Turner dresses
2 Maxi skirts from my TNT pattern
2 pairs of pants from my TNT pattern - one wide legged pair & one regular pair
1 Cashmerette Turner Tunic
1 Vest from Butterick 6389
1 Top from McCalls 7095
1 Top from Simplicity 8094
1 Top from Butterick 6486
1 Cashmerette Concord long sleeve tee
1 New Look 6430 tunic
1 Cashmerette Rivermont Top
1 Shirtdress from TNT shirt pattern
1 Style Arc Marilyn Dress
1 Saldana Maxi Dress from MimiG pattern
1 McCalls 7542 dress
1 Cashmerette Lenox Dress
1 Vogue 7271 maxi dress
1 Simplicity 2894 denim dress
1 Cashmerette Rivermont dress
1 Cashmerette Concord Tee maxi dress
1 McCalls 7481 jacket
1 Lil Somethin' Jacket
1 Sweater Cardigan from Vogue 9980
1 Simplicity 8303 denim coat

Pattern companies used:
Cashmerette (17), Simplicity (7), New Look (5), McCalls (3), Butterick (2), Vogue (2), Indies - MimiG, StyleArc, Lil Sumthin (3), TNT (11)

Garment types made:
Dresses (15), Tops/Tees (13), Shirts (6), Cardigans/Vests (7), Jackets/Coats (3), Skirts (2), Pants (2), Maxidresses (2) 

I'm not surprised at the number of Cashmerette patterns used but I am at the number of Simplicity patterns since I have a harder time acquiring them. I don't visit the craft store often - okay I boycott it - but I've made 12 pieces from Simplicity & New Look patterns this year, pretty amazing.

Going into the New Year:
I do want to make a bunch of long sleeve Concord tees (fabric set aside for these) and an ambitious 12 versions of my TNT long sleeve shirt (fabric set aside for these too!). Other than trying my hands at jeans since I own the Cashmerette Ames Jeans kit...anything goes!

I'm going to finish up the selfish sewing for my daughters and maybe make a few pieces for the granddaughters but that's still up for grabs.  

I plan to sew from the fabric collection more this year - using my motto "Sewing Saving and Using what I got!" I have some amazing pieces of fabric that I've collected over the years and I really want to have them in my closet instead of on my fabric shelves. But I'm not giving myself a requirement that I'm not buying fabric cause please y'all know how that works out...LOL!

I want to wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year! I want to thank you all for following my sewing journeys, for leaving comments, for encouraging me and for giving me helpful advice. I hope that we all have amazing sewing journeys in 2018!

Lastly, I wouldn't be me if I didn't say something about what's going on in the USA. I kept thinking that I wouldn't add anything but I have to be true to who I am.  So I hope that we as a country can come together and end our divisiveness, that we realize we are global citizens of the world and not just America first and that we as Americans all VOTE in the midterms so that we're ALL well represented in our government!

#Don't Normalize Hate!  #Love trumps hate  #Love thy neighbor as thyself 

...see you in 2018!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

My Top Misses and Reflections

Reflections ~
As I stated in my last post, 2017 was the year that I made garments that were more me, fit my lifestyle and allowed me to be creative (again) in my sewing. Cause c'mon I hacked my heart out in 2017 - shirts, dresses, and even my TNT pants pattern was hacked. So I made clothing that I loved and wear alot. I'm also getting to the place where I wear "me made" almost every day. Not top to bottom like before but I'm getting there...I'm getting there!

Because I "know" who I'm sewing for now, I only had three misses for the year.

I mentioned the first one in my last post. Of the five shirts I made this year, I don't love the one that got the most attention...the blue floral one ~

This one suffers from a bad fabric/embellishment choice. All of that piping is just too heavy for the rayon and causes it to droop by the end of the day. It just stretches and stretches and stretches...

So it's a miss. Much to my regret and even though I haven't added it to the donate pile yet...I'm sure I will in the future...especially after I get some more shirts made.

My second miss is ~

My second Turner Dress. I love the print of the fabric I chose but I don't like the ITY knit. This dress photographed well and really highlighted the print, however, I hated the way it hung on me. I never wore this dress out of the house. I just wasn't comfortable in it...and I love my other Turner Dress and wore it several times last summer.  As well as the Turner Tunic - I wore it last spring and I've worn it a couple of times this fall. So it was the fabric choice - not the pattern that didn't work.

My last miss is another dress - The Rivermont ~

For this one it's the silhouette. I thought I would like this shape but ultimately the dress isn't for me. There is nothing wrong with it and again it photographed well but I wasn't comfortable in it. So I gave it away to a fellow blogger. Now I loved the top and plan on making more of them but somehow me and the dress just didn't gel.

Highlights of 2017 ~
There were a couple of things I was especially proud of in 2017:

1. Working with my fellow sewists at SewCamp at Carriage Run B&B
Thanks Gaylen for letting me spend the weekend sharing my sewing knowledge with some fellow sewists.

2. Writing the "Ask Carolyn" column for SEWN Magazine.
This is one of the things I'm proudest of because I love sharing my sewing knowledge with fellow sewists. So thanks Michelle & Mori for letting me do my thing! And if you haven't subscribed to the magazine yet, what are you waiting for!?!

3. Several blog posts that I've written for Curvy Sewing Collective, FabricMart and the Sewcialist blogs.
I so appreciate it that you think my sewing is worthy of sharing with other sewists on your blogs!

Going Forward ~
My motto for 2018 is "Sewing, Saving and Using what I Got!" I have so many ideas floating around in my head now that I have a direction for my sewing and I have the fabric collection to get them made. So my primary goal for 2018 is to sew with what I've got. 

There are a few places I want to visit with fabric stores attached to them and I need to clear some space in the sewing cave for new acquisitions. So Imma try to be stingy with my fabric pennies so I can get there.

The NYC Sewcialist Soiree is the first weekend in January so I have my first party dress of the year to make...

...and I have a new collaboration to announce in the New Year that I'm pretty excited about.

Finally ~
I still love sharing my makes and talking about sewing on the blog so I will continue to do so into 2018. I know it's not a flashy blog or that I haven't made a lot of changes to it (okay I did update the header this year!) but I hope it is a comfortable place that you can come, see what I've made and talk about sewing with me and others.

To my fellow sewing bloggers - I appreciate you so much and hope that you continue to blog! It's wonderful to click in and not only see the pictures of your garments but to read why you chose and did what you did! I promise to be better at leaving comments in 2018!

A few pics from Christmas with the Grands!  Hope you and your family had a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays! always more later!

Friday, December 22, 2017

My Top 5 Hits of 2017...

The one thing I need to state about 2017 is I feel like I finally found my comfortable work style. I knew who I was sewing for again and not flailing around trying to make things work. I think my wardrobe choices were more cohesive, more reflective of my personality and allowed me to fit in with my work environment ~ yet be me.  Whew!  What a mouthful!

So without further Top Five!

Simplicity 8303

This started out as a duster and became soooooo much more. This is my favorite make of 2017 and it doesn't hurt that my daughter took some A-MAZ-ING pictures of this coat. It's the first coat I've made in years and now that I'm removed from the sewing of it, I'm really thrilled with it.

In the number two spot is ~ New Look 6340 in Denim

Version four of this TNT pattern is my favorite from the series of the dresses. It works so well for my lifestyle - either dressed up with heels or dressed down with my sneaks and a cardigan. It also cemented my love for denim and how it can work in my life.

The Cashmerette Concord Tees and Dresses earn the third spot for 2017

I wore some version of this pattern all summer long especially my white tee...and I'm carrying it into fall with long sleeve concord tees and tunics. This is the pattern that just keeps on giving.

Number Four would be my shirts

I made five different versions of my TNT pattern - a mash up of OOP Vogue 7700 and OOP Butterick 5978.

These are my favorites from the five I made. I like my original one too but the blue rayon one is going on my Top 5 Misses list. I also found out that I really like sewing shirts and all their fiddly bits! I have quite a few on my to sew list for winter and into spring.

My last garment in my top five is the new Cashmerette Rivermont Top

This top is everything and I plan on making more of them in 2018!

Finally ~
...if I had to list a favorite pattern company for 2017 it would be Cashmerette Patterns. Jenny has designed a pattern line for us plus, curvy, thick or big busted women that is just amazing!  If you haven't sewn a Cashmerette Pattern I'm here to encourage you to get on that! Don't waste anymore time! Buy just one pattern and sew with it and you will see why I love this pattern line so much. You will definitely see more of these patterns in 2018.

I will have my Top 5 Misses up next. always more later!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

McCalls 6886 - Fitting the Pattern Again

I've used this pattern several times to make my daughter a couple of dresses. Once I made a series of dresses for her to wear while working in a salon underneath her smock. This is my favorite version of the dress for her - made in a stretch woven - and made to match the grandbabies:

From the Fashion Show two years ago...

My daughter sews and sewed a lot when she was younger.  However, with a full time job, four kiddies, a partner and a household to maintain, my daughter has stopped sewing.  Her sewing machine is still set up but she uses it to fix a hem or take up a seam for the kids.  She's worn all of the dresses I previously made into the ground.  She's also lost ALL of the baby weight and then some, so she's been belting them and wearing them with a cardigan.

I agreed to sew a couple of new dresses from ponte & ITY knit from the collection...gotta love that fabric collection!  She picked ten different pieces of fabric. We had to adjust the pattern slightly because she is smaller in the top but wider in the hips (babies) and barely has time to eat. 

This is part one of the possibly two or three posts about her new dresses, because I don't think I can get all of the dresses, fitting and construction information into one post.

Fitting Changes ~
I had to make some alterations to the original pattern pieces for her post babies body:

Side view - that back fold lies flat when she puts her arms down

Back adding space for her hips

Front pinned at the sides

Close up of the front neckline

Here is the pile of fabric I will be using to make new dresses for her...

There are a number of fabrications here and we will be changing up the length, necklines and sleeve lengths. Also, there are two wovens in the pile that I will add a little ease to the pattern, use a zipper and add a lining. The good thing is that she's not expecting these all at once. So I'm sewing a couple at a time. This is what I was referring to in my last blog post.

I didn't sew for the grandbabies this year because they grow to fast! However, I am sewing for their mother and her sister in 2018. So look for finished versions of the dresses on the blog sooner rather than later! always more later!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Vogue 9980 - A Cardigan from the 90s

I pulled this pattern out of the stash a couple of months ago. It's a Koko Beall pattern. I collected a lot of these when they were in the pattern books back in the 1990s. 

At the time I wanted to make a lightweight summer throw on type jacket - you know something that will keep you warm against the artic chill of office air conditioning. 

As with all good intentions, I didn't get to it this summer.  However, it was still sitting out when this sweater knit arrived from StyleMaker Fabrics, and it caught my eye.

Last weekend the East Coast experienced our first snowfall and the bitter cold also swooped in. Even though I was in the midst of making dresses for my daughter, I took some time out to make a quick sweater coat for myself. I was looking for a little warmth against the cold.

First a little about the fabric ~
It's a heavier and more stable fabric than I thought it would be when I ordered it. So I knew the light cardigan I was thinking of wouldn't work. I've been wanting more sweater coats to go over jeans and tops, especially since Chicos & JJill have some amazing ones in their assortment. Upon touching the fabric I knew it would work for this kind of sweater coat.

Construction ~
Since this is a 90s pattern, the shoulder seam was quite long. I did alter the shoulder seam to my standard length so that it would fit better.

Then I had to complicate the construction by adding some black piping to the neckline and sleeve hems. But the pattern on the fabric would have been overwhelming without some stopping or resting point for the eyes.

After I stitched the side sleeves and tried the sweatercoat on, the sleeve openings seemed really wide. Since I'd cut the hemline off before adding the piping, I had a 1.5" hem after adding it back to the sleeve. It made the perfect casing for adding elastic to the sleeve hem. I love how the piped and ruffled hemline gives an artistic touch to the sleeve.   

Also the pattern calls for one buttonhole at the neckline. Since the fabric is a little thick and patterned, I thought a regular buttonhole would get lost.  So my first choice was to add a "Spanish Snap Buttonhole" using black ponte/pleather. That was my intent. In reality, I wanted to wear the sweater coat to my company Holiday Luncheon and used a pin instead because I ran out of time.

BTW, the pin is old. Back from my corporate days...glad to find a use for it now. Hopefully I will be able to repurpose some of my other pins too.  After wearing the sweater coat, I liked it so much that I decided to leave the buttonhole off. 

The facings were cut from a black ponte scrap from the collection. I wanted the facings to be smooth and flat so I didn't use the sweater fabric for them. I also turned the edges under 1/2" inch and stitched them flat because I wanted a cleaner finish on the inside fronts.

The sweater coat hem is machine stitched. Because the fabric is pattern, after stitching it in and giving it a good press, the stitching disappeared into the fabric.

Otherwise this pattern was easy to construct. The instruction sheet has great pictures and to me the construction process made sense, especially since they had you insert the sleeves using the flat method. Sleeves that btw, I didn't need to make any pattern alterations too. 

A few pictures ~

This is what happens when you take your own pictures
The sweater is caught on my butt - but it was too cold to retake!

...and a pic of me wearing it with a black RTW mockneck and black skinny jeans at the Holiday Luncheon.

Conclusion ~
I really liked how easy this piece was to sew and I will be making it again. However, I will add the buttons and buttonholes to the jacket in future renditions. I'm sure that some of the heavier sweater fabrics I own will match up perfectly with this pattern (and clear some shelf space in the cave) this pattern will be showing up again during 2018.

If you're interested in owning a copy, there were a few of these patterns available on Etsy and even Amazon when I googled the pattern. This is part of my plan for 2018 to sew from my pattern stash and fabric collection, so I'm ending 2017 on a high sewing note. always more later!

Friday, December 15, 2017

NY Sewcialist Soiree - January 6, 2018

The NYSewcialists Team who sponsor the monthly meet-up on the last Tuesday of the month, have gotten together and put together an after the holidays party!

The NY Sewcial Hour team invites you to a Sewing Soiree in Tribeca, celebrating six months of wonderful meetups!

On Saturday, January 6th, spend an afternoon with old friends and new.  We'll chat about all things sewing over tasty treats and sparkling drinks.  Come early so you don't miss out on the amazing giveaways donated by our generous sewing community.

Speaking of giveaways, feel free to "give away" a few of your patterns at our pattern swap table.

Dress Code:
"No Sequins Left Behind."  Wear your favorite handmade holiday outfit - the more festive the better.  Then, prepare to strike a pose in front of our selfie wall. We can't wait to see you there!

Space is Limited. Here's the link to buy your ticket!

Hope to see you there! always more later!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Confessions of A Fabricaholic

If you've been reading along for any length of time, you know that I LOVE fabric.  To some it's an aspirational goal, to others I'm obviously using my funds wrong and to some people it's a headscratcher. Then to those who love fabric as much as I do, my fabric collection is a lovesong.

I haven't talked about fabric purchases much on the blog lately. Some of it's because I haven't felt like it...though I've still been buying. But it's the end of the year and alongwith recapping my Top 5's (those will be coming up soon), I wanted to talk a little about my fabric collection. Especially since my fabric collection means as much to me as the sewing does. 

In September I shared some new online fabric resources for National Sewing Month. There were several new to me online fabric sites and I have spent time pursuing their sites then purchasing from them. So I thought I would show some of the new pieces that have come to visit Casa de Sewing Fanatico. 

Now I know I work in the midst of the NYC Garment District and I do purchase local too. However, for many of you visiting the District is a special trip, but you can sit at home and thumb through online internet sites. Truthfully, I sit at home and thumb through internet sites too!

So here are a few purchases I've made recently especially after the amazing Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales:

LaFinch Fabrics ~
A Liverpool knit (used in the Rivermont Dress, a dotted chambray for a shirt
and a polyester crepe for a bow-tie blouse)

Blackbird Fabrics ~
A floral rayon poplin and a dark floral sweaterknit

Smugglers Daughter ~
A dark denim cause I'm always buying denim now!

District Fabrics ~
Love the packaging from District Fabric

An embroidered velvet

I have to admit to finding this one on Instagram and purchasing it by calling the store.  They were so helpful and sent it out quickly! I highly recommend following their Instagram account and seeing their lovelies.

Emmaonesock ~
A rayon printed twill

I also bought a few pieces of fabric from Stylemaker Fabrics ~

and 5 yards of white cotton interlock from Organic Cotton PlusThe Stylemaker Fabrics and the cotton interlock were purchased during the Black Friday sale.

There have been a few purchases from Chic Fabrics and Metro Textiles, in the Garment District too, but I've officially made my last fabric purchases for 2017. It's time to stop gathering and to start sewing. I don't know about you but at the beginning of every season, I need to do a gathering or a hunt of fabric for that season. I need to add a few new pieces to the collection to get the creative juices flowing. These pieces may or not be used during this winter season but they do encourage my sewing mojo and inspire me to start new sewing adventures.

So how about you?  Do you need fabric to kickstart your sewing mojo?  Or do you have a lean fabric collection? Maybe you're like me and believe that you should own as much fabric as you are capable of storing? Finally, did you indulge in the Black Friday sales? I know different strokes for different folks but as I said at the beginning of this post I love fabric and it makes me happy!

I may have another outfit post before the Christmas Break but I'm not sure. I am sewing but due to the holidays and everything going on, I may not have a photographer until the New Year. 

As I mentioned above, I will be discussing my Top 5's in another post soon and maybe a wrap-up post of this year and my goals for next year. always more later! 


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