1.17.2017

Ottobre 05/2016 no. 8 Drape Front Top in Champagne Ultrasuede

When you find a favorite, do you make it over and over again?  I certainly do and right now Ottobre 05/2016 no. 8 Drape Front Top is a favored favorite. 
Quickest top I've ever made.  Bought the stretch ultrasuede from my small town's local Wal-Mart on Saturday and by Sunday evening the top was finished and worn to evening Bible Study.
Worn today with a rtw cardi and the hardworking Ottobre 05/2016 no. 9 classic black leggings.  And boots.  Boots always seem like a good thing.  ;)
You can get the links to Ottobre's Etsy shop from the earlier post on my first version of this cute top here.  Sometimes she has back issues you can order there.  But since a lot of this is redundant information, I'll just summarize today.  For some strange reason I only purchased 1 1/2 yards of the ultrasuede, so this top was shortened by 5" and the sleeves were shortened by 2".  Whyever I did that, I do not know.... but was able to squeeze this top out of that mere yardage purchased for $5.42/yard so a total of $8.13 for a gorgeous, drapey, comfy ultrasuede top.  That's a win all 'round in my book!
Again, center front and center back have exposed serged rolled hem seams and with this drapey, slippery ultrasuede, it almost has a ruched effect.   This time 'round I lengthened my serged rolled hem stitch length and instead of a satin stitch rolled hem finish.....
.... it was more rope-like.  I really, really like this.  I also used contrasting threads in my serger to get this detail.
Shoulder seams also have exposed, serged rolled hem seams. 
And a couple of folks had questions about the cute miniskirt I wrote about in my last post....  asking if I thought it might be too much to wear without tights and to answer you guys.... I'm not sure.  Probably for me, but at my age feel I have to think about those things a little more.  In the same breath I LOVE this skirt so will probably fool around with the pattern in the future and see how it finishes with the front overlap panels overlapped a little more.  It would be so easy to do that and I can see that might make it more appropriate from a modesty standpoint.  As for the shortness.... it'd be fine.  Will let you know.
It is such an overcast, misty moisty day.  Mid 60's F so mild for our South Carolina mountain average winter day.  Love it!
Happy Sewing Everyone!  :)

1.13.2017

Ottobre 05/2016 no. 8 Drape Front Top and
Ottobre 05/2016 no. 7 miniskirt

2017 is starting off well as 2 items were completed this week... both from Ottobre 05/2/016 issue.... and I am super pleased with both.
The Ottobre Design Woman magazines are published twice a year and can be purchased from her Etsy store or directly from her website
This particular issue is definitely my favorite as I've now made 4 items to-date with more planned.  No. 15 Like a Warm Hug and no. 9 Classic Black Leggings were made in 2016.  Today we'll be talking about no. 8 Drape Front Top and no. 7 miniskirt.
No. 8 Drape Front Top is a cowl turtleneck with basically 2 pattern pieces as the #1 front piece is simply a modification of the back piece.  So cool how that extra little bit at the top neck drapes and makes this lovely cowl.  Center front, shoulder and center back seams are all serged rolled hem.  Sleeves are inserted the flat method and sleeve hems and bottom hems are left raw.  Super easy top to make and doesn't take much time at all.  I made a size 38 with no modifications.
Soft, drapey berry knit fabric purchased at Hobby Lobby.  This top has already turned into a favorite. 
Trying to show you the drapey cowl turtleneck here.  It just sort of flops drapes into shape.  :)
Pretty much everything was done on my serger.   I've also worn this top with a collared jacket and the cowl sort of draped over the collar almost in a scarf-like way.
A little late, but this concludes my Make a Garment a Month 2016 October Challenge for 'Sew One'.....
.....because no. 8 Drape Front Top and no. 15 Like a Warm Hug top both use the exact same sleeve pattern.  How cool is that!
Two tops that couldn't be more different in design both using the same sleeve.  No. 15 Like a Warm Hug was finished back in October 2016.  And if you might be interested in joining the Make a Garment a Month Challenger, Sarah Liz, our lovely administrator, will be happy to help you there.
Okay, let's look at this oh-so-cute miniskirt.  Though in my humble opinion, I'm thinking it's not quite so 'mini', so I may go back in a raise mine a bit.
Anyway, no. 7 miniskirt pattern sheet from Ottobre 05/2016 shows a simple A-line elastic-waist skirt with front and back yokes.  This does not use much yardage at all and am already planning another.  It is also another quick make..... maybe an afternoon. 
Ottobre shows these 2 items together so that's what I wanted to do too.   Super comfortable even over the black leggings.
Took pains to match the fabric's pattern in the front and was successful, even though it photographs a little off here below.  Twin-needled stitched the 1" hems with no channeling!  About fell out of my chair with that one as that usually NEVER happens!
This knit fabric has been in the stash since the mid-1990s.  Might even be older than my daughter.  ;)  Used a different lens on my camera today and not sure why parts of my photos are blurry.  *sigh* 
Part of my concern with this pattern was that the knit might hug my backside and look awkward.  So, after tracing the size 38 and adding 3/8" recommended seam allowances..... I added another 1/4" to all the side seams.  No problems in the rear.  And yes, there is a center back seam there!  Took a lot of pains to match my fabric's patterns at all the seams and succeeded well.  Side seams too.
And what you can't see is the most excellent bias-cut pattern matching on the back yoke!  Kind of pleased with this even though no one but me will know.  The front yoke was cut on the bias too.
Thought it's be fun to show you Ottobre's photo (bottom left) of the exact same outfit I have on.  Leggings, top and skirt.  Am planning a black cardi to sort of pull mine together for those colder days.
This also meets Make a Garment a Month January 2017 'Sew New Start' Challenge for me. 
And hard to believe that this time last week we were preparing for a terrible snow storm.  We received 4 1/2" in my area and were home-bound for 2-3 days as temps lingered below freezing during the day and @12 degrees F at night.  Today it's in the mid 70s.  It is hot as these photos were taken.  I am NOT complaining!!! 
Happy Sewing Everyone!  :)

1.01.2017

2016 Reflections

As a new year begins, it's always interesting to look back over the past year and sort of see where one 'was' vs. where one feels they are 'now'. 
Overall, I'd say this year has been a year of growth for me in not only skills improvement, but in a greater self-confidence in my abilities.  At the beginning of the year, I can remember the turtle feeling as I struggled in second-guessing every step of each project to such a degree it began to sort of suck the joy out of the sewing process.  But with each garment completion, there was that feeling of elation seeing my creation come to 'life' and the joy of wearing handmade garments that would push me on to begin another.  Then came the struggles, then the elation..... a vicious cycle within myself.  But somewhere toward the end of the year, it all just seemed to click.  Still taking time to evaluate each step, maybe even changing the approach because I'd learned how to do that step a better way..... but moving along and not allowing myself to become overwhelmed with the process.  And it feels really, really good. 

Made at year's end, the plaid McCall's M5252 jacket is a great example of my progress out of the cycle.  I'd been wanting to make that jacket for over a year and once it was decided it should be next in the queue, in the course of a very short period of time for me, I'd chosen fabric from my stash and dug in to such a degree that I even ran the collar stand through my machine (after pinning ever so carefully) and stitched a perfect stitch on both inside and outside right then and there.  Totally amazed myself at my newfound 'bravery'.
But I am getting ahead of myself here.  Let's go back to the beginning of the year where I was working on the NewLook 6261 sheath dress out of quilting cotton bird fabric to wear to my niece's wedding in February 2016. 
It was actually supposed to be a wearable muslin to work out all the kinks in the pattern so I could make the 'real' dress for my daughter's May graduation from college using the most gorgeous fabric in the world I'd received from my sweet, beautiful Australian friend Carolyn at the end of the 2015 year.
I made the bird dress in time for the wedding and sewed the coordinating Burda jacket in a mere 2 days!  Both were worn at the Florida wedding.  And when I arrived home, felt very honored that Simplicity Pattern Company picked up the first photo below, and ran it on their facebook feed.
But everytime I worked with Carolyn's precious fabric, a strange semi-paralysis took over as I was so frightened of ruining it I'd carefully put it away.... petting it from time to time.  In the meantime, I made a few more Plantains and another Burda jacket.  A pretty Toile de Jouy dress was finished in April using NewLook 6370.
Made 3 Ottobre 02/2015 no. 14 pants.....
.... and a linen Ottobre 2/2016 no. 10 shift dress that I love!
Then came a linen Rachel Comey Vogue 1247 top....
...and my hand-stitched Alabama Chanin top and skirt.
Meanwhile my beautiful daughter had graduated with honors from Clemson University.  I had to wear my bird print dress to her graduation.  Let me pause here a moment and say, her graduation was the biggest highlight of my (our!) year!  This bright and beautiful young lady was diagnosed with cancer the beginning of 2016, had surgery over her Spring break and graduated on time 2 months later.  Many, many people were praying for her and we are so very grateful the Lord answered our prayers and today she is healthy and cancer-free.  Love her so much.  Proud momma moment here wiping away a few tears.
Okay.... back to the subject matter..... somewhere after mid-year I decided that Carolyn's dress needed to be finished.  Carolyn is very dear to me and I admire and respect her so very much, and felt that I had been rude by the extreme delay in getting her dress done.  A sheath dress is not a hard dress to make, the trick is getting the fit just right..... and in my case I'd also never lined a dress properly before.... but it was done.... and I am so proud of my work and feel I did Carolyn and her beautiful fabric justice in the end.  In fact, when the dress was (finally!) completely finished, I cried.  It was a fantastic feeling.  Thank you Carolyn.
First wearing
'Official' outing
After completing Carolyn's dress, it just seemed everything started falling into place and I finished a put aside Yoshiko Tsukiori Frilled Bolero shortly thereafter.
NewLook 6374 has been worn to death and
 another NewLook 6192 basic skirt was made.
It was fun to make Ottobre's 05/2016 no. 15 'Like a Warm Hug' with its exposed serged rolled hem seams center front and center back.  I'll let you in on a little secret here..... I was trying to act all cool and nonchalant in the photo below, but was actually so stressed as there were *gasp* PEOPLE nearby!!!!  Still not comfortable about photos in public, but do force myself out of my comfort zone occasionally and take 'on location' shots with my camera and tripod.
Needing pants desperately made a pair of NL6216 gray cords and a slew of leggings from Ottobre's 05/2016 no. 9 Leggings.  LOVE these!!!
So overall I made 26 total garments.  25 for me and 1 for Melissa, so guess that means it was kinda a selfish sewing year.  1 Home Dec project of corduroy pillows with zip and not one single quilt.  The statistics came down to: 7 tops, 4 dresses, 3 jackets, 1 cardi, 9 pants and 2 skirts.  I also (poorly) participated in Make a Garment a Month for the 3rd year and want to do better with that sweet group in 2017.  Sarah Liz is our lovely moderator who I have enjoyed getting to know all these years.  I've only been sewing garments for myself since 2013 and joined her group shortly thereafter and found it a source of inspiration and motivation.  Also participated in Me-Made-May 2016 for the 3rd year and worked hard to take self-photos 28 of the 31 days of May and used that month to better my photography skills.  I cannot conclude without mentioning Instagram.  This was my 2nd year on IG and cannot even begin to express how much enjoyment, creative inspiration and sweet encouragement there is to be found in our wonderful sewing community via that social media outlet.

So that's it for 2016.  I want to thank you, dear readers, for reading my posts and following along as my hope might be to inspire you in some sort of creative way.  Looking forward to seeing what 2017 may bring.

Happy New Year!!
EDITED 1.4.2017:  the full 2016 Gallery of My Work can be viewed here with links to all posts written in 2016 with garment construction information:   2016 | GALLERY OF MY WORK
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