Friday, November 21, 2014

Minecraft Creeper Dress

Ottobre 6/2012 #30
Sulka Dress
Size 134
Fabric:  Ponte de Roma Knit, purchased from Girl Charlee

It all started with, "Momma, when can you make me a winter dress?  Oh, and I'd like it to have a creeper face on it too, please."  So, here is a Minecraft Creeper dress as requested by one of my girls.  A while ago I made my son a Minecraft jacket here.

I made the Sulka dress before, but this time I omitted the outer bodice piece since I was not going to be making any kind of bows.  However, I did cut the inner bodice piece out twice so I could use one as a lining to cover the applique stitches.  I had a great thought (later) that I could have also cut out the back bodice piece twice, totally enclosing the gathered waist seam.  Next time I make this dress, I will do that.

When placing the bodice and gathered skirt piece right sides together, you could take that extra bodice piece, putting it right side to wrong side on the skirt piece and then flip up the bodice pieces and baste the two together.  

I used black cotton lycra knit for the applique and neckband.  Hems and neckband top stitching with black thread.

Also, any of you who gather with elastic, is there a method to this that I am missing?  I did it, but not without repeated effort and frustration.  I seem to pull the elastic out from my needle at the beginning even though I run a couple stitches through it, run off my elastic when get the picture.  I struggle with this.  Any advice is greatly appreciated.

I was curious how a ponte de roma knit would work with this pattern.  It is heavy, but it makes a nice winter-wear dress.  This knit is very soft too and easy to hem.  I did cut 1 inch pieces of interfacing (woven) to make my hemming easier.  It makes turning up your hem quick too because you don't have to measure it around since your have already cut your interfacing to the depth of the needed hem.

My daughter has already put in a request for a Tardis dress--my little Dr. Who fan.  I asked, "what makes you think I can just make these theme-type dresses?"  She says, "because you can."  I wish I had grown up with my very own tailor...ha ha.

Thanks for stopping by~ Shirley

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Vogue 1411 with Butterick 5925

Version A
Size Small
Fabric:  Patchwork print jersey from Girl Charlee

I really like the way this top turned out.  I think this fabric would make nearly any pattern top appealing, even a simple t-shirt.

There is an interesting design feature--a little twist in the neckband and pocket band, which is made by offsetting marks that you match up on the pattern pieces.

The pockets are made by basting it first to the side piece which is then sewn to the shirt lower side seams.  At the top of the side piece, it gradually tapers in to a very narrow seam with the bottom being very wide .  Then you attach the sleeves, sewing down the arm edge, continuing down the side of the shirt till you meet up with the top of the side piece.  This matched up really well.

This shirt takes 2 yards of fabric up to a size large.  There are 7 pattern pieces!!

You can mix this up by combining coordinating fabrics.

Version A
Size A
Fabric:  Ponte de roma knit from Girl Charlee


Hmmm.  I'm not sure if I like the pants much.  They are just okay to me.  My husband and children like them.  I modeled them for my family before hemming to see if I should continue...ha ha.  Do you ever do that?  They fit well and have a unique design.  Maybe it is because there was a lot of work in putting these together that I just don't feel that the time spent met my style expectation.  The whole time sewing them I kept thinking to myself, "I don't know."  I will wear them though.  If I invest the time and it fits I will wear it.  Maybe not as often as other favorites.  I kind of wish I had just made my Ottobre legging pattern.  It is simple but I love it.  Oh well.  I'm trying to make sure I don't just have 10 of the same thing in my closet.

On to my technical thoughts about the pattern.  You really have to sit down with these and make sure you get everything matched up correctly before sewing.  Seams have to be sewn, pressed open flat, and then topstitched while straddling the seam.  I used a twin stretch needle size 2.5.  Hindsight I wish I had used a wider needle.  I think it kind of made it pucker a little, raising this seam a bit.  However, the seams do stand out more and that is what makes this pant pattern unique from others.  I didn't shorten these and I'm 5'1, so if you make them, you might want to add some length to them!  I almost wish they were longer on me.  I am petite but I always like to wear my pants a little on the long side since most times I wear boots with chunky heels.  Using such a narrow size twin needle could have contributed to losing a little on the length since my seams pulled up a bit (does that make sense?)

Simple waistband with elastic.

That actual fit is good.  They are supposed to fit snug.  I made the straight leg version instead of the tapered leg.  Since they are shorter than I had anticipated, I don't know if they look too short with these ankle boots or not.  Maybe I should try tucking them into a different style boot.

Size A requires 1 1/4 yards of fabric. There are 8 pattern pieces!!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Jalie Bra 3131

Bra Review, Jalie 3131
Band size R
Cup size V

This is a great bra!

You might remember this fabric; I used it for an Ottobre skirt I made recently.  It takes so little fabric to make a bra!  I am quite pleased with my results.  This is my second attempt.  Last week I made a muslin and the band size was perfect, but my cups were a little on the small size.  I'm not sure why, but I'm wondering if it is due to my recent reconstruction surgery with implants.  Things still need to settle in (I think).  This time I went up 2 sizes and I'm pretty happy with the fit.  I can definitely use less bra strapping since I have to tighten them up almost all the way.  I have to do that with any store bought bra.  Also, I need to make the armhole FOE piece shorter by about 1/2 inch so it will pull that curve a little snugger in around me.  With those adjustments, the fit will be perfect for me.

 The band stays put where it should across my back, so taking that under bust measurement to determine band size is precise.  There isn't anything very technical to the construction.  If you haven't sewn with fold over elastic, you might want to practice a little with that first.  

My only recommendation is for you to cut your suggested cup size out of scrap fabric, gather it at the bottom and try it out for size.  It won't be exact this way, but you should be able to get a good idea if the size is right for you.

Jalie has a tutorial online; take a look at it and you will be amazed at how simple this bra goes together.  I watched it a few times while I was waiting for my pattern to come in the mail.

I tried to photograph this on my body form, but I wasn't able to get it adjusted where it looked right.  As far as support, I am probably not the best one to say since with implants, I'm not really going anywhere. LOL   However, the way this bra is constructed and lined, it feels pretty sturdy and secure.  It is definitely worth a try if you are interested!

I purchased all my supplies from Sew Sassy.

Thanks for stopping by~Shirley

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Lounging Outfit

True Bias Hudson Pant, Size 2
Renfrew Top, Size 6

 Ahhh, it is so nice to have comfy lounge pants to wear!  If you are looking for a easy sew and quick gratification project, this is the pattern to have.  I am amazed at how well drafted and fitting these pants are.  I used a thermal knit I had in my stash; I purchased it so long ago that I can't remember from where. For the pocket trim, waistband, and ankle pieces, I used navy blue ribbing.  For the inner pocket and lining pieces, I used the same thermal knit fabric as the pants.

I did not have 2 inch elastic for the waist.  Instead, I used some 1 and 1/4 inch that I had on hand. The instructions have you sew 2 lines of stitching for a casing for the drawstring, which is sewn through the elastic.  I just didn't like the looks of it and picked my stitches out (that was fun).  It was probably my error...a combination of wrong size elastic and sewing too quickly.  This started out just as a muslin, so I was throwing it together rather haphazardly.  However, I really started liking the thermal dot with the navy blue ribbing, so I decided to unpick my poorly sewn casing and leave the waistband as is.  I made a drawstring out of the thermal knit.  I cut a good length of fabric by 2 inches and sewed up one side and turned it right side out and knotted the ends.  I made sure to cut the fabric in the direction of least amount of stretch.

I won't be wearing these out of the house since the white thermal knit is a little bit on the sheer side if the light catches it just right.

For my Renfrew top, I cut out a size 6 this time since I wanted a more roomy fit and feel to it.  The fabric is a stretch rayon jersey knit, which is very stretchy and drapey.  The neckband isn't as tight due to this, but I'm okay with that since this is just for the purpose of a pajama.  I purchased this knit from  I used most of it on leggings and had only an odd-shaped remnant left, so it was a tight squeeze getting it cut out, but thankfully it worked.

I am already cutting out a second pair of pants--I like them that much!  It is rare that I turn around and make the same thing immediately.  I will get some 2 inch elastic though and see if I can get the waistband right next time.  However, I am totally happy with the looks of an unstitched waistband too!  No one is going to see it and I rarely ever tuck my shirts in or wear a shirt that short in length where the top of the pant is seen.

On a personal note, I had my stitches removed yesterday from the 2nd phase of my breast reconstruction surgery!  I'm still a work in progress.  Apparently radiation can tighten up the skin, so the left side is not wanting to cooperate as much.  It's really grabbing on and holding that implant in. My surgeon will do a little more with it during the next surgery, which is in January.  I'm getting there!!  I ordered the Jalie bra pattern to make some nice, simple cotton knit bras.  So, I'm excitedly waiting on my pattern which should be arriving in the mail any day.  I ordered my bra-making supplies from Sew Sassy.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lola Dress

 Victory Pattern -- Lola Dress
Size 2

I shortened my Lola pattern by 4 inches at the shorten/lengthen lines.  I compared the pattern to a dress I had previously made and wanted the same length for this dress.  I should have gone with 3 inches instead of 4, because I missed the length I was aiming for.  I used sweatshirt fleece, but I didn't pay attention to the stretch percentage.  Let me just say 10% is probably not enough for this dress.  Well, in a larger size maybe.  Based on my measurements, I am definitely a size 2.  I think it would get out of hand tracing patterns in different sizes based on stretch factor, even though I have thought about it!

I realized my error in stretch when I tried it on.  I had everything sewn except for the ribbing.  What made matters worse is when I sewed the bottom to the top, I had the front bottom sewn to the BACK top.  I even basted it together first and still didn't realize it!  Sadly, I put it on and then realized oh my gosh....I can't get it off!  I was home alone too.  Doesn't help that I'm only 2 weeks out from my surgery.  I thought I might have to cut my way out of it, but thankfully I was able to get it off.  Patience was wearing thin the hotter I got in this sweatshirt fleece too.  I knew I had to get it off one way or another because my husband and children weren't going to be home till much later in the day.

Now that it is sewn on correctly, it is still a little snug to pull on, but not while I am wearing it, so I am happy.  I do like it.  Of course I would like to make it again in a better stretch fabric.

The pockets are so nice and big!

This is a great pattern!  It does take some time to tape it together, but everything matched up well.  I did put a new blade in my serger before sewing this together.  I knew with the bulk and layers of this dress, it would need to be sharp.

The little triangle piece is the reverse of the fabric.  It probably would have looked better if I had kept it right side up since it kind of stands out and almost looks like an opening in the neckline with everything else being so much darker.  Oh well...wearable muslin!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Friday, October 24, 2014

New Look 6298

Nothing beats a black & white dress.  I imagine it is almost as nice as the iconic little black dress--something I still need to make myself.

I used New Look 6298, size 10.  I'm really quite pleased with the New Look patterns I have been sewing up. They are affordable and seem to be competing well with other pattern styles.

If you are looking for a quick and easy dress to sew, this is it.  I made it in a few hours from cutting to hemming.  It did require a minor alteration.  Thankfully I tried the dress on before I hemmed the bottom.  I had to take in the arms and side seam allowances, making a nice curve at the waist.  It looked rather sack-like on me.  It doesn't on the pattern envelope, but there is quite a bit of ease in the finished measurements.  It is definitely not boxy.  I just wanted a closer fit.  It was easy enough.  I pinned the dress together on the new seam line I wanted to create, basted it, and tried it on again.  

BIG pockets!  I did shave off a 1/2 inch when I took in the side seams; however, they are so big it doesn't really change the look.

I used "big black houndstooth ponte de roma knit" fabric from Girl Charlee.  For the pockets, I used black scuba knit from  I like the faux leather look it gives.

The darts at the top of the raglan sleeves are a nice design feature.  The neckband pattern piece is perfect!  I really like when there is a pattern piece for this.  I didn't even have to shorten the length of the dress, which is rare for me.  

There is a seam up the middle back.  You almost can't tell tell until you get to the waist and see how the print gets narrowed.  I actually made a whole pattern piece so I could cut the front out in a single layer of fabric.  I wanted to be able to see that my design print was even on both sides.  I'm happy with my matching.

I just got around to looking at why my coverstitch machine wasn't behaving properly on my last knit project.  I had removed and put back the piece of the machine that makes it easier to do armholes. Well, when I had popped it back into place, it wasn't in there level, so it wasn't letting fabric feed properly.  Geez.  I need to pay more attention to what I am doing.

It was late in the day when taking these pictures, so the lighting wasn't very good.  My photographers, a.k.a. my children, do a great job taking them!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Monday, October 20, 2014

Men to Boys Pants Refashion & Zipper Tutorial

Check out this refashion I made for my son's new pants!  I used our favorite pattern
Ottobre 4/2008 #33 Hi-Hat Pants, Size 140 with added length

You'll see some pics below how I cut out the pattern using a men's size pant.  I was able to keep all the outside leg cargo pockets intact.

I turned up the bottom hem 1 inch and then again another inch, so I can let the length out for growing room.

The only place I had to get resourceful was where the front pocket joined the back yoke (you'll see below how this created an usual angle cutting the pant leg out as one piece).  I couldn't sew a side seam here, so I overlapped the edge and then created a strap to cover the rough edges.  With so much going on in the fabric and pockets, it is barely noticeable.

Pockets all the way down the leg--how cool is that?  My son loves these!

I started with a pair of camo pants, as well as a jacket (not pictured).  A military surplus store is a great place to find a pair unless you know someone willing to part with theirs.  Ebay might be another good source for a used pair.

Cut along both inseam pant legs and lie flat.

I laid my pattern along the outer leg seam, making sure to disregard the seam allowance on my pattern since the front and back pattern pieces are joined together (see below).

You can see how the "seam allowance" is overlapped where the pattern is joined as if one.

Now I have a complete leg piece.  It looks kind of strange how the top portion is cut, but at the moment it does not include the back yoke or the fabric that will be added to create the pocket.  For this pant, I left off the pocket flap since I have plenty of pockets all ready. 

Order of assembly:

Sew the back yokes on.
 Attach the pocket and pocket facings to the front leg sections.
 Make my strip to cover the side seam that was overlapped.
 Sew the leg inseams.  
Put one pant leg inside the other and sew the crotch seam, leaving the fly facing open.  
Insert the zipper.
 Make the belt loops.
 Attach the waistband.

I'm not sure why I haven't thought of doing this before; it was pretty easy and not to mention very time saving!  I had these pants done in just a couple of hours.  I cut out the back yoke, waistband, and belt loop strips from the jacket.  If you don't have a jacket, you could also use a coordinating fabric.  I used tan micro twill for the waistband facing.  


Here is a fly-front zipper installation picture tutorial--I followed the instructions included in the Ottobre magazine for this.  Their illustration is very good, but I know sometimes it helps to see an actual project in progress.  By the time I took these pictures, the crotch seam had been sewn and fly shield constructed.

Sew the zipper to the fly shield

Press a narrow edge on the right front opening of the zipper facing 

Place zipper that is attached to fly shield underneath narrow edge and sew

Fold the left front zipper facing under and give it a good press

Now line up your zipper tape with the edge of the fly facing that you just pressed under.  Don't sew through all layers--only the folded under edge.

Like this...

Now prepare for top stitching, keeping fly shield out of the way

I give it another good press with the iron

Draw with chalk a top stitching line--I just free hand this

Finished with the zipper!  Do NOT cut off the top part of the zipper until after your waistband is sewn on.  I have done this...a couple of times.

That's it!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley