Friday, April 3, 2015

The Perfect Pair

The Alma blouse paired with the Moss skirt

Sewaholic Alma Blouse
 Size 6
View A
No alterations

 I really like this top.  I tried to make it last summer and had issues getting the invisible zipper in the side seam. I tossed it and moved on to a different project.  I'm so glad I came back to it.  Proof that one should not give up on a challenge.  I just needed time to gain more invisible zip experience.

I forgot to make a sloping shoulder adjustment, but I think it is still okay because of the sleeve type making it not so obvious.  I'm still trying to get a handle on what body-type adjustments to make.

I found the depth of the armhole just perfect, the darts were all in a good place for me, and the length of the blouse is great!

Since my fabric is thin and lightweight, I was able to use my narrow edge foot for the hemming.  I still haven't found a way to go over side seams smoothly with it.  I even tried trimming down the seam, but I always get hung up there.  The only thing I have found that works for me is to stop and manually fold the fabric, stitch over the seam, and then resume stitching with the narrow edge foot.

 Grainline Moss Skirt
 Size 6 at the waist, graded to a 4 at the hips
View A

Alterations:  Lengthened by 2" and dart alteration to back yoke by .5 inches

The moss skirt is a great wardrobe staple!  It sits at the waist comfortably and has nice sized pockets.  It is a basic skirt but a great starting point if you want to get creative with modifications.

To eliminate the waist gap that usually occurs when making my bottoms, I decided to take a 1/2 inch dart out in the pattern tissue on the back yoke only.  I just pinned it out and then cut my fabric.  It fits perfectly without any gaping on my first try!  This was much easier than trying to adjust the CB seam as I have done in the past.  It occurred to me that by adjusting the "seam," I may be altering the curvature of the pattern more than should be.

 I used a triple stitch for my back yoke top stitching and quickly discovered that it was going to be difficult to control my line of stitch.  I did do it on scrap fabric first but didn't realize how hard it was going to be keeping it lined up with the seam.  Yikes!  So, I finished that area and didn't do it anywhere else.  It won't be seen anyway since I never tuck my blouses in.  I had intended this to be my muslin, but I love it and it is completely wearable.

I used a dark blue thread for hemming so it would blend in with the denim.

I can see making up many sets of this outfit--a perfect pair to me!

My denim is mid to heavy weight, so it won't be worn much during the heat of the summer, but nice right now since we are still having cool temperatures.  I'm glad I only ordered a yard of it since it is kind of shiny.  I don't think I would have liked it in a jean.

My blouse fabric was purchased from Fashion Fabrics Club last summer.  I don't remember what it is technically called.  It is some kind of cotton blend.  I wish I could recognize fabric types better.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Swimsuit Love

I love the Jalie swimsuit.  I made a set for me here.

Jalie 3351 & 3023

If you aren't familiar with Jalie Patterns, they are sized 2 to 22.  How awesome is it to have one pattern that will fit the entire family?  Pretty awesome!

Go Fish!  Funny how I got the seashell right at the mid tummy area.

This is a size 134 in the top and a 140 in the bottom.

And a little more fashion forward with my other daughter's choice of fabric.

This is a 140 top as well as a 140 bottom.

Yesterday I was out doing some shopping and noticed tankini swimsuits similar to this style in the ladies department.  I looked at the price and it was around $50.  I made mine for less than half that!  This is definitely an area where you can save some money in sewing for yourself.

I bought the Jalie Boardshort pattern so now I can attempt to make a swimsuit for my son.  I have only made a pair of pj pants for my husband, so maybe I can build some confidence in sewing him up a pair of shorts as well.

Last week I made myself a dress.  Well, I shouldn't say "made" because it went into the trash at the point of the lining.  The dress fit and once my lining was in, it did not.  It also did not help that my machine starting having issues that landed it in the repair shop.   I took it in yesterday and the store owner said it was nothing that I did and it is still under warranty.  Thankfully I can continue to sew on my Janome, but my Pfaff is much better for knit sewing because of the dual feed.  Anyway, I thought I liked the fabric I chose for my dress....big green circles with white swirly lines, but my dress I was making had a neck flounce.  It started to look kind of clownish to me ha ha!  Oh well.  Some fabrics don't meet our expectations once sewn, so I probably wouldn't have worn it anyway.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Embroidery Update

I managed to complete another 4 quilt squares.  I am really trying to stick to my goal of 2 per month.  A small goal, but HUGE when you think about the time that goes into sitting and stitching...time not sewing clothing, which is a hard thing in itself! ha ha

Like the compass squares, there will be a few anchors to do.

This last one I knocked out in 3 days.  One of my girls was hospitalized with pneumonia, so I took my hand embroidery to the hospital each day while I sat with her.  We were a crafting duo.  She sat and practiced calligraphy (once she was feeling better) while I stitched.  She was admitted last Tuesday and was able to go home Friday morning.  Her treatment consisted of breathing treatments and antibiotics.  The doctors said we caught it early!

I now know the only thing worse than being in the hospital myself is having to have one of my children there.  This was the first time she was ever away from home, which was hard for me.  She did okay with that though, thankfully.  The nurses and doctors were amazing!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Jeans--Vogue 8774

Vogue 8774
Size 12

Alterations:  Removed 5/8" from CB seam, 1/2" from length before hemming
Fabric:  Kaufman Denim 8 oz Indigo Washed, 100% cotton, purchased from
Top stitching thread:  White & Red Clay color, purchased from Joann's Fabrics

Installed rivets using my Prym


This is my 2nd entry in the jeans contest!


This is my first go at this pattern, as well as my first attempt at making a non stretch denim jean.  I have always been apprehensive at the thoughts of making a non stretch jean.  I assumed the fit would be more difficult.  I am happy with the fit I achieved.

After reading the pattern instructions, I followed some and not others. One difference was the zipper; it opens to the left instead of the right like my other jeans.  Since I had already trimmed down one side of  the fly front area, I was afraid to reverse the position of the zipper thinking it might not fit well.  Putting it on the opposite side was like trying to hula hoop to the right instead of the left like I am accustomed too!  It just didn't feel right.  I referred to the zipper instructions in my Grainline shorts pattern, which are fabulous, but it was hard to "flip" it in my brain while installing the zip.  Next time I make these jeans, I will put the zipper in the way I know how.

I also prefer a different method for the waistband assembly.   I pulled out my Angel Bootcut jean pattern instructions for that, which works really well.  I also used the hem allowance suggested in the this pattern too.  Vogue instructs you to make a narrow hem allowance of 5/8 of an inch.  I like a wider hem allowance for my jeans.  I have mistakenly put too narrow of a hem in skirts which makes them flip and not lie flat.

I do like the depth of the pockets and I also like how 2 of the belt loops are sewn at the base of the back yoke before attaching to the pant.  This is the first time I have seen belt loops constructed like this and I really like it!  The other belt loops are attached after the waistband is finished.  I like the pant legs.  Plenty of room but not baggy at all.

I also reshaped the back pockets a little.  The pattern piece seemed a little too wide and too square for my preference.

Before attaching the waistband, I tried them on and discovered that they were still a little big in the CB seam, so I adjusted the back yoke by taking it in 1/2 inch.  They could have been taken in a little more, however, but I wasn't sure how much ease non stretch denim would need at the waist.  Besides, I like to wear a belt with my jeans whether needed or not.

Worn with purchased top.
I purchased 3 yards of the denim for a total cost of $23.04.  
I have enough left over to make a pair of shorts!

This denim is really soft.  I just washed it again in hot water, which I did before cutting out, and they are even softer now and the fit is even better!  It shrunk just enough to take up the tiny looseness I was feeling in the waist.  I think I'll do that with all my jeans now that I make.  Since I hem them really long, I can afford a little shrinkage if that happens.

Thank you for stopping by ~ Shirley

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Swimsuit Sewing

Jalie 3351
Shorts Size S

Jalie 3023
Tankini Top Size S

Love, love, love these patterns!

I haven't had a new swimsuit in several years. I have never enjoyed swimsuit shopping.  It is just hard to find something that fits well and is comfortable and modest.  Jalie you are awesome!

The top has a shelf bra, which I made in the solid black.  This fabric was a little thicker than the printed fabric, so I thought that would work best there.

While assembling the yoke piece, I attached a half inch strip of clear elastic to the seam allowance to keep the front secure.  I read a few reviews that mentioned a little gaping here, maybe when wet, so I figured it wouldn't hurt just to put some in.

I had to cut off about 3.5 inches from the straps.  I safety pinned them in, tried it on, and then sewed the straps down once I got a good fit. I removed 2 inches from the length of the top.

The shorts have a side pocket and an inner bikini too, which I made from the printed fabric.

I do have some extra fabric left, so I will make up the skirted bikini too.  I wasn't sure which I would like best, but now that the top and bottoms are together, I love the look!

Technically, it is a pretty easy sew.  Jalie's instructions are always well written and illustrated.  The last step of assembly of the shorts, attaching shorts, bikini and band, take some thought to wrap your head around.  What this does is sandwich the seam in between everything so you don't see it or feel it on your skin.  I actually made one of my girls this same swimsuit, but made the shorts in too small of a size.  I kept it as a visual example just for this step so I can refer to it.  I will be making this swimsuit a lot for the 3 of us!  I will blog about their suits once I make one for my other daughter.

Fabric purchased from The Fabric Fairy.  Wow, what an impressive selection of fabrics they have!


I have a new camera now, so we are experimenting with photos.  Instead of being photographed a 100 times, I'm just going with what we take and figuring it out as we go along.

Next I want to jump right back into jean sewing and maybe enter another pair in the Pattern Review jeans contest!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Angel Bootcut Jean AW4200

Angela Wolf Pattern, bootcut jean
Size 4
Alterations:  Shortened length by 3.5 inches
Removed 5/8" from CB seam

This is the first time I made jeans from this pattern and I love it!  This is my first entry into the Pattern Review Jeans contest too.  When I started making these this week, I wondered if I should be sewing up a pattern I was familiar with instead.  However, I really wanted to try out these jeans because they are very comparable to RTW in the stores.  

When I first cut my pattern out, I was concerned I chose the wrong size!  With there being 5/8" side seam allowances, it makes them look big LOL.  I'm used to sewing with smaller allowances.  I couldn't be happier with the fit--nice and snug but not tight.  The pattern instructions say you can make this up in a non stretch denim, however, you would need to size up or adjust your pattern.  I definitely want to try this out one day.

I sewed every day, ALL day this week on these.  I spent probably over 20 hours between tracing the pattern, cutting, sewing, top stitching, and rivet and button installation....phew!  Normally I can sew up an outfit in a few hours but I took my time and there is always a learning curve with a new pattern.  Also, there is a lot of sewing in a pair of jeans!  I have been wanting to make myself more, but it is hard to make that kind of time commitment when there are so many other easier projects to engage in. 

 As you can see, even removing 3.5 inches in length, they are still long on me.  I prefer to wear chunky heeled boots with my jeans. I probably could have gone another 1/4" shorter because they are nearly at the bottom of my boot heel.  I am 5'1.

My favorite feature of this jean--the back pockets!  I love the design.  I used a gold jeans top stitching thread, single needle.  I drew out a design with chalk first.  I also threw some bartacks in for a fun design feature.  Those are jeans buttons as well.  That makes this pair of jeans a little more expensive since there are also 2 jeans buttons at the waistband.  I think my package of 6 buttons was about 6 Euros.  I also used rivets at the pockets.  I love using rivets!   They give them a professional look.

I'm still relatively new to fit alterations.  When I tried my jeans on, I had a significant gap at the back waist.  I started taking the seam in slowly, getting deeper each time till I got the correct fit.  I couldn't see by twisting around in the mirror, so I would run downstairs each time and have my husband take a look for me.  I don't usually sew in the evenings once my husband and children are home, but I could not do this alone.  After I made the change to my pattern, I remembered having to do the same thing when I made my Grainline Maritime shorts.  I compared the alterations and they were darn near identical!  So, the next time I try out a new jeans pattern, I am going to throw caution to the wind and make this CB adjustment beforehand.  I hope this will be a standard fix for me.

I also wanted to note that I have a Pfaff Performanc 5.0 and had no problems at all with the buttonholes.  Not a hang up one time.  Before cutting my buttonholes, I put some fabric glue on the backside so that it will not start to fray after being cut.  Works beautifully.

I also put a bartack at the bottom of the twin top stitching on the side. 

I used a twin need for top stitching when I could, but any rounded or pivoted areas, I used a single needle.

I didn't have any problems with the pattern at all.  The instruction booklet is very thorough and well illustrated.  It is also spiral bound, so it is easy to open and lay flat.  The pattern is printed on a nice, heavy weight white paper.  

Here are a couple close up pictures.  I tried using our regular camera, but I couldn't see any better quality pics than my ipad takes.  I really need to get a better camera one of these days.

Somehow I got my coin pocket a little high, so I will watch for that next time.

Fabric used:  9.7 ounce dark indigo stretch denim, 97% cotton & 3% Lycra Item #4828308 
Purchased from:
Purchased white cotton blouse

I'm so happy to have been able to go outside for some pictures.  Even so, taking pictures is hard with limited sunlight.

I hope to get another pair of jeans made this month to enter!  While I'm in the "sewing jeans mode," I want to take advantage of that.  I also have to focus on some swimsuit sewing this next week.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Friday, February 13, 2015

Another Alder

Alder Shirtdress Size 4
Alterations:  Sloped forward shoulder, shortened 2 inches

Yep, I can totally see why this dress is so popular!  It is addicting and you can't just make only one.  I'm not sure which version is my favorite.  I'm kind of liking the straight one better than the gathered skirt one....maybe. No doubt I will wear both a lot though.  I already have some linen on order to make another.

I worked a little more on the shoulder fit again.  Last time I did just a sloped shoulder and then I realized I also have forward shoulders--what the heck!  Analyzing your fit points out things you didn't know about your body ha ha.  I'm enjoying learning new things though.  That is why I love sewing so much.  No matter how long you have been sewing, you can still continue to learn and perfect your fit.

This fabric is very light weight.  It is a cotton lawn that I purchased last summer from Fashion Fabrics.  I probably will need a slip in sunlight.  I really miss taking pictures outside, but it is still very cold.  It was sunny today and I briefly thought about stepping out on the patio for a photo.  I have done that before and it embarrasses my daughter because of the strange looks I get from strangers walking by in coats!  Isn't it funny how when you are little like that, those things bother you.

I am having the worst time trying to get my body form to my measurements.  It just doesn't seem to work well.  I want to have my husband help me with a duct tape one so I can put it over it.  I am wishing I had not spent the money for one with all the dials. :(  Maybe to get a really decent one, you have to spend a fair amount of money on it.

I had my husband help to graph my body today using the instructions in the book "Fit for Real People."  I realize now that I can stand in front of the mirror all I want and I'm just not going to figure out all I need to know.  We taped up some paper to the wall and he made some points on it where my neck starts, shoulders, arm pits, waist, hips, etc.  This will be a good start.  Hopefully I will learn how to make better fit adjustments now.  I have to say it was fun when we were doing this--we laughed a lot!  

I made sure to line up the button band where it would match the brown stripe.

I discovered there is actually a Sew Along on the Grainline website for the Alder, which is very helpful to reference.  There isn't much more to say about this dress other than I love it and I think the fit I have is pretty good so far.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley