April 2014 plans for 'Make a Garment a Month Challenge'

First, let me say Thank You! so much for the comments you left on the Cropped Cargo Pants post!  All of you ladies made my day and are so uplifting and encouraging.  Thank You!
I really enjoy taking the time to plan and 'think' about what to make for the Make a Garment a Month Challenge and...
...SarahLiz, who's a great organizer for our group, has given us an April theme to work with.  We have international participants, so some of us are entering warmer weather, and some of us are entering cooler weather.
So, for April's challenge, I'm choosing a beautiful, soft knit that I purchased from Joann's last year, to make into a 3/4 length sleeve top from Simplicity 1916.  The fabric photographed beautifully, below, not so the pattern.
I'll be making view D.  Even though it's officially Spring in the South, South Carolina's weather can be all over the place this time of year - well, especially THIS year it seems, so a knit, 3/4 length sleeve top in such pretty colors would be perfect.
View D is a cross-over V neck with a 'baby-doll' type front with 3/4 sleeves.  This looks like it'd be really comfortable to wear, but I haven't worn a 'baby-doll' type top since Junior High?!  Usually I lean more towards fitted tops, but with sewing my own garments now, I find I'm branching out and trying new-to-me styles to wear. 
Only choosing one item to 'officially' plan to make for the March 2014 MAGAM challenge worked well for me, as I actually made 3 garments during that month AND completed the March challenge in the month of March, so I'm sticking with my 'backwards psychology' and only 'officially' plan to make this cute top for April, with the hopes I'll actually complete more!

Looking forward to seeing what everyone is making in April!


Cropped Cargo Pants from NEWLOOK 6216

I have completed a pair of cropped cargo pants....
...and I completed my Make a Garment a Month March's Challenge...
in March.   :)
My original plans changed as my cropped pant's vision became clearer.  What began as plans to create Simplicity 2188 cropped, gathered hem pants in an olive linen blend fabric became...
NEWLOOK 6216 altered to become a cropped cargo-style pant out of a lightweight cotton twilllish khaki fabric remnant that was just enough for a pair of cropped pants.  I'd just made this pant so I knew it would fit, PLUS it has pockets! (S2188 has no pockets) and I decided my linen blend fabric needed to be used for a different project. These are a not-too-gathered elastic waist pants and I deleted the cording in the waistband again for a nice flat fit.
So this....
..became this.
This image from Polyvore helped bring it all together.  I'm still thinking about going back and topstitching the pockets. 

Even though they are on the 'inside' of the pants I'm thinking that'd work?  This type of pocket works with my body-shape so much better than an 'in-seam' pocket.  I did fool around with trying to raise the back a little, and need to raise it a little more.  The front as per pattern is perfect for me, but the back really does need to be raised probably @1".  Something to work on next time.
I wanted to show you this would also make a nice simple cropped pair of pants too.  My right leg, below, has not been gathered.... vs. the left leg has.  I trimmed this to fall just below the knee.  I really thought about where I wanted the pant to fall on my leg, as too long and it 'shortened' me.  I think this looks about right for my height.
I'd already serged all seams and turned under 1" for the hem and topstitched with twin needle when I decided to make it gathered through a bottom casing, per my inspiration image, instead of the up-the-side-leg 'ruching' type of gathering S2188 has you do.  It was so easy, even at this point!  Simply unpick the little bit of serging/stitching just in the middle there of the top of your 'hem' at the outside side seams(s) and voila! you've made a 'casing'.  For the ties I cut 1 1/4" x 36", fold in middle, then fold in sides and top stitch all.  After threading it through the casing with a small safety pin, tie each end in a simple knot.  Gather, then tie or knot, depending on the look you want.
Love, love, love my new cropped cargo pants and will probably make them again as this fits my casual, country, small-town daily life well. 
The pants were made with a remnant from my $1.00/yard Wal-Mart fabric and my top and cardigan are rtw.


Knitting has been 'scientifically proven' to be Healthy for us.
But we already knew that ~ didn't we?!

Through One Hundred Dollars a Month's recent post on "Knitting for Health", Mavis brought up an interesting idea.  In her post she linked to a recent TreeHugger article "Don't Stop Knitting!  It keeps you healthy."  written by Katherine Martinko that was also re-printed by Lion Brand Yarns as "7 Ways Knitting Keeps you Healthy and Well.  This is a terrific, well-written article with Katherine citing her references with scientific sources.  She writes of the benefits of knitting ranging from reducing stress and anxiety, to reducing risk of dementia, to connecting people, to improving concentration and more.
My Shetland Lace Knit Scarf project @75% complete
The November 2013, Psychology Today's article "Should you knit?" cites a British physiotherapist who founded an organization in Bath called Stitchlinks to promote knitting as a therapeutic practice.  This article also cited Princeton University's research findings that repetitive movements release those good-feeling serotonins.  Katherine Martinko's article also references the Stitchlinks site.
My Simple Knit Prayer Shawl Pattern is the most viewed post to-date
In 2009 CBS was already reporting on knitting's health benefits.  Love that there are some men in this group too!

So, pulling together the information to write this post was informative and enjoyable, but as a knitter and crocheter, and let's throw quilter and sewer in there too for good measure, I already 'feel' the 'health benefits', just didn't know the 'scientific reasons'!  Did you?!

UPDATE 3.27.2014 ~ CNN reports:  Promising scientific evidence supports what crafters have always known: it's good for your health.   This story is part of CNN Health's "Inside Your Brain" series.


a new pair of pants ~ NEWLOOK 6216

Pants seem kind of boring, with an elastic-waist pair ranking at the top of the 'boring' list.  But comfortable pants are an integral part of my daily wear, and I really like this one.
This completes my February's Make a Garment a Month Challenge plans.  Yes, I know it's mid-March. 
These are almost too short, but otherwise love 'em.Especially the pockets!  Nice to have a place to put the lens cap. 
These pants are NEWLOOK 6216 (as well as the tunic top I'm wearing over a rtw long-sleeve T).
The pants are out of the same $1.00/yard Wal-Mart lightweight twillish chocolate brown fabric I'd made OOP Simplicity 7131 pants from, photo below.  I was curious to see how two pair of pants from the very same fabric, but different patterns, sewed up. 
Pants:  oop Simplicity 7131
Poncho:  McCall's M6209
I decided I didn't know enough about pants alterations to make any changes to the pattern, so I cut a size 10, sewed the entire pair of pants with basting stitches, checked the fit, pulled the basting stitches out, then serged with minimum seam.  They sit 1" below your natural waist, with the back feeling it is a little lower.  I'd like to make them again raising the back waistline and lengthening a little. 

In the photo below, they sort of look like what we used to call 'highwaters'.  I'm not standing square, but wanted to show a 'back' view.  Maybe they'll look better sans socks and white tennis shoes?  After seeing this photo, I may unpick the mere 3/4" hem and re-sew a turned under 1/4" hem.  Yes, I think that will help.
 On the hanger - boring, I know.
Pocket detail, photo below.  These pockets work well with my body shape.  They seem to take up less bulk than an in-seam pocket.  Hard to see the top-stitching, but it makes a nice finish, even though these pants will ALWAYS be worn with no shirt tucked inside.
I love daffodils!  My most favorite flower, I think.  Through the years my sweet husband has planted over 500 daffodil bulbs scattered all 'round our wooded property.  So fun to find a golden treasure blooming in the woods this time of year!
Overall I think these pants give me a little better fit than the Simplicity's and am happy to add more basics for everyday wear, even though they may be 'boring'!  And a big 'Thank You' to Sarah Liz for introducing me to this pattern!

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March 2014 Garment Plans for 'Make a Garment a Month Challenge'

Seeing as it's getting on mid-March, figured I'd better be thinking about my March 2014 plans for the 'Make a Garment a Month Challenge'.  Sarah Liz has given us monthly theme ideas, and this month she suggests sewing for Spring.

Spring?!!  I still haven't finished my Winter plans and it's a roaring fire-in-the-fireplace day again today here in South Carolina...
...but she's right, it's best to think ahead because Spring will be here but for a bit, and then it'll be the hot, humid Southern Summertime. 
So, taking all that into consideration, I'm planning to sew Simplicity 2188 view D, a pair of cropped pants with a piece of linen blend fabric I bought last year and already prepped like my linen leopard print, so this will be easy care wash-n-wear.  I'm thinking to include the cute gathered strings on the sides too.  In my fabric stash are a couple of pieces of fabric that will coordinate well with this dark-olivey linen to make into coordinating tops.
I'm keeping this month's plans simple in the hopes that I'll accomplish a little more than 'planned'.  Kind of like 'backward psychology'?!
I'd also like to say I am very much enjoying participating with such a nice supportive, encouraging group of ladies.  This is a nice 'challenge' to be a part of.
Happy Sewing All!

COMPLETION UPDATE:  Changed the fabric and the pattern to create the oh-so-cute cropped cargo pants in the photo below. Modified NEWLOOK 6216.  Read more here

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a Tunic Top from NEWLOOK 6216

I have made a new top and am still trying to figure out how I feel about it.
I had a leftover piece of fabric from the mid-1990s that was juuuust enough to make this top that I thought looked so cute on the pattern envelope.  My fabric had a little one-way stretch and I thought it would 'swing' and 'drape' nicely.  I pictured it with a lightweight long-sleeve tee underneath, as I'm wearing it today, for Fall/Winter wear and wear alone for Spring/Summer.   Sarah Liz has written extensively on how she tackled this little top.
Cut a size 10 in neckline and bodice and aiming for a longer short sleeve look, cut a size 18 length on the sleeves.  Wanting a tunic top to wear with my leggings, added 4" to the length... because that's all the fabric I had to work with.  Being a good girl this time and following directions, sewed a 5/8" seam and all turned out too tight.  Unpicked and re-sewed a serged 1/4" seam... because that's all the fabric I had to work with.   The sleeves and hem are simply turned under 1/4" and top-stitched.  I didn't even serge them first as the fabric is an unraveling knit.

Spent the most time on the neckline.
It cuts out quite large and the neckline band included in the pattern pulls it in snug leaving puckers all 'round.  I did not want that look.  So I made one large pleat in the front middle, still stretching the band while sewing to pull it in a little all over without too many puckers.  This turned out to be a good idea because my fabric didn't have much 'stretch'.  In hindsight, I could've cut the neckline smaller and the neckband a little larger for all to lay nice and flat without needing a pleat.  I think that's what Sarah Liz did when she made hers.  I spent a couple of hours one afternoon from start to finish.
So the jury has been out on this top, until I saw the new Spring 2014 collection on J. Crew's   Pinterest board this morning.  This cute dress caught my eye. 
J. Crew Swoop Dress in Latticework Medallion made of silk
This dress reminds me a lot of my tunic top, with the exception that the neckline shows more pleats - maybe 4?, instead of 1 in the middle.  The fit looks similar.   J. Crew's Product Details calls this style a "straight silhouette" and now my top makes sense - think 'straight' - not 'swinging' or 'drapey'.

Not sure if I will make another top from this pattern.  After looking at today's photos, I think I've got too many 'curves' for this 'straight silhouette'.

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