2.15.2019

Infinity Scarf | a super quick make

Why did it take me so long to jump on the Infinity Scarf bandwagon, I do not know, but incredibly this is the first Infinity Scarf  I've ever made and it was oh-so-easy and quick.
Using the Free Tutorial by Melly Sews, it took more time to wrap my brain around how to line up the edges by pulling the tube sort of inside itself than to actually sew this thing.  I chose to machine stitch everything closed as there's so much twisty-turny-drapey fabric that seam will not show.  It doesn't.  So no time was wasted hand-stitching anything.
Only requiring a piece of fabric 22" wide by 2 yards long, I used a remnant of the drapey sweater knit from the recent Ottobre Cardi.  This is like a freebie!!  I'm showing it to you today paired with the Itch to Stitch Hepburn Turtleneck on my dressform.....
 ..... but plan to wear it with the addition of the McCall's sherpa suede coat
And since this is such a quick post, thought I'd share a little of the baby quilt I've been working on.  This is for a sweet baby girl recently born to a couple from my church, and a quilting friend from church and I spent a pleasant afternoon piecing the top using combined "baby girl" fabrics from our stashes.  She had the cutest fabrics!!  Oh there was much fabric envy on my part..... those bunnies were hers.  ;)  After she left I sandwiched everything together and thought I'd sit down at the machine and quilt the whole thing in about an hour or two.  Ha!  Boy was that time frame a joke.  I'd forgotten how time consuming quilting is so maybe 4-5 hours later I was done.  Whew!
The pink polka dot binding is all prepped and that's where I'm at.  Soooo close.  I think.  My friend has an embroidery machine, so while I was doing all the quilting, she was embroidering a beautiful quilt label.  I'll show you that in the finished post I hope to have up sometime next week.
So on that note.....
Happy Sewing All!!  :)

2.08.2019

A quick Refashion for Make a Garment a Month February Challenge 2019

Why do some of our clothes linger in the closet?  Lonely and left out they just..... 'hang' around.  Ha!  Couldn't resist a little pun there.... 'hang around'...!  Okay, okay, please feel sorry for my poor family who has to suffer with the lameness.  ;)  But seriously.... why do some of our clothes get picked to wear time and time again and others linger?  This was one of those items that was n.e.v.e.r worn, but methinks that will change now with a simple 'refashion'.
Knee deep in my vintage Simplicity ensemble, Sarah Liz's Make a Garment a Month February Theme certainly caught my eye and made me think.  Hmmmm, from Frumpy to Fabulous.
The original dress, below, (you can read all about here) was not maybe what you would call Frumpy?.... but it certainly was not Fabulous.  This never got worn.  Okay, maybe once.... then never.  I probably made it too long, but honestly it just never 'fit' right.  The neck always pulled back hiking up the center front in a weird way.... see the center front hiking up below and that hem is perfectly even.  Trust me, I checked.
So with Sarah Liz's theme in mind I decided to treat February more as a Refashion, than a 'make a new garment that fit' because I really want to wear all the lovelies in my closet.   See that center front still hiking up?!!!!!   It's the neck I tell ya'.  You can even feel it sliding back.  *sigh* Can't do anything about that but thus forth the hemline shall be called a unique hi-lo design feature.  Those hi-lo hemlines do seem to work better in a top than a dress, no?!  ;)   I think the leggings help offset the wonkiness visually too.
Soooooo all I did was chop 5" off with the rotary cutter, machine stitched a 2" blind hem and it was ready to wear in less than an hour.
I've worn this for the past 2 days now and it feels much better as a top than as a dress.  Even the neck pulling back on me isn't as annoying, may be because it's so much shorter?  There's not as much fabric pulling on me?
Love, love, love this challis fabric and really want to enjoy it.
Thought it'd be fun to snap a comparison shot..... before and after.
Probably couldn't gone shorter but wanted to try it keep it more of a tunic length than a top length.  As a bonus it's been nice to wear a woven top with my (unblogged) Ottobre/Burda mashed up leggings than always putting on a knit.    Maybe there's a need for more woven, tunic tops in the handmade closet.  Hmm.
Happy Sewing All!  :)

2.07.2019

Sewing Darts | a quick and easy Tutorial with no hand sewing

How do you feel about sewing darts?
They've always given me a sort of apprehension so as I began working on the Vintage Simplicity 5882 skirt.....
.....that has 8, count 'em 8!.... darts, I applied a new-to-me technique that I'd like to share with you today.   You can see there's 4 in the front....
Front
.... and 4 in the back.  I'm at the point of putting on the waistband today.
Back
Maybe I should first ask.... how do you sew your darts?  I'd always learned that you begin stitching at the edge of your fabric sewing to the dart point, shortening your stitch length to almost nothing at the dart point to lock it, leaving long tails then hand-stitch/hide the tails into the body of your dart using a hand-sewing needle.  Like this tutorial from Blueprints for Sewing where she also includes the anatomy of a dart, dart set up and her tutorial/technique.  Please know I am absolutely not discounting this method at all, simply wanting to share a new-to-me method I found helpful.
As the dart construction stage of my skirt was rapidly approaching, it was pure serendipity to find a handful of Nancy Zieman's books at my local thrift store, each priced at a mere $1.00.  I snatched them up without even looking at them as I knew these would be great resources to have.  So it was only when, back at home, I was thumbing through the books to see what goodies they held, I came across Nancy's technique of sewing darts using only your sewing machine in "The Best of Sewing with Nancy" book below.   It certainly captured my attention with no hand-stitching/hiding those thread tails.  May I pause for a moment here and say how much I miss Nancy.  She was such a great lady.
She calls her technique "Durable Darts" and teaches you to sew off the dart point 1" to 2", forming a chain thread, then backstitch/lock stitch it back into the body of the dart to secure.  Cut your threads and you are done.  Super easy, super quick and no puckers.  And no hand sewing.
I've modified her technique a bit..... more because I was so excited to put in practice, I neglected to read all the details.  ;)   So here's what I did:  Begin at the fabric edge, stitch toward the dart point and as you near the dart point, narrow your stitch length to the tiniest stitch length for the last few stitches.  Stop as you stitch off the fabric and re-set your machine to a more normal stitch length.  Now stitch maybe 3-5 stitches 'off' the fabric forming the little chain.  Stop, then back-stitch your little chain into the body of the dart and snip the thread tails, as you can see below.  That's it... You are done!
I even put together a little video this morning to show you, using a sample dart.  Hope this makes a little more sense seeing it in 'action'.
And recently I shared a few of these photos and information on Instagram and was surprised at how many folks, even long-time sewists, had never heard of this technique before, so that made me feel it might also interest some of you.  What is wonderful about this hobby of sewing, is that there are many different ways to put a garment together.... but most of all to always embrace a love of learning.
Happy Sewing All!!  :)

1.29.2019

Ottobre Design Woman 02/2015 no. 13 Knit Cardi | x3

Can one have too many layering pieces?  Methinks not as I've recently completed 3 knit cardigans of Ottobre Design Woman 02/2015 no. 13 Knit Cardi pattern, with no modifications or alterations to each.  Simply carbon copies so to speak.
Outfit details here
The photo above and below is of the exact same cardi.  This was my first 'test' version and as you can tell from the lovely Fall backdrop, made back in November 2018.  My 'test' version turned out to be my favorite!  This fabric is a strange sweater-ish texture on the right side and almost net-like on the wrong side that I got at WalMart years ago for a mere $1.00/yard.  Because of the net-like weave, thought it'd be a weird thing to wear, but am finding it perfect to layer.  It keeps me warm, yet no bulk, and what you 'see' is a sweater texture.
Outfit details here
This ribbed black knit, below, with a silk-like 'wrong' side was THE fabric.... and this is my least favorite version.  Go figure!  Anyway.... this fabric is s-t-r-e-t-c-h-y and within a few wears has stretched out into an almost oversize type of wear than a tailored wear.  See how I have to shove the sleeves up?  If I didn't they'd swallow my hands.  Because of the slouchiness am wearing this more around the house and to casual places.
Outfit details here
And oh what a lovely back drape/cut the pattern gives you.  With a shorter front tapered gently to a longer back, it covers the derriere nicely.  Particularly when you want to wear a pair of leggings and want..... um.... need!..... some coverage back there.
The 3rd and so far final version is out of this utterly lovely lightweight sweater knit I bought a few months ago at my local only open once a month fabric textile outlet center All About Fabrics.  When I was checking out, one of the owners told me this was a designer knit they'd sourced from California.  I thought the print was interesting and quite different from what I'd usually choose.
 A bold, graphic print of gray, black, rust red with faint silver stitching throughout..... I tried to take all that into consideration when placing my pattern pieces.  This pattern only has 3 pattern pieces.  I drew out pocket pieces and cut out of fashion fabric, but am worried my knit is too thin to properly support them so this is still sans pockets as are all the versions made to-date.  There are no closures on this pattern.  It is designed to simply meet in the middle like it's styled below.
It pairs perfectly with the new Itch to Stitch Turtleneck and this is how I wore it today.  The front pieces are simply turned under 5/8" and top-stitched.  I chose to top-stitch with a zig zag on this version, as on version #1.  On the black version I used one of my machine's decorative stitches.
 I like the way Ottobre has you finish the neckline all nice and tidy.  I used some black binding from the stash and even though the instructions neglect to mention clip that seam..... please clip that seam as I forgot and my binding pulled horribly on this knit in an awful way and there was lots of unpicking, clipping and re-stitching to be done.  It lies nice and flat now.  She also has a nice finish for how the front turns back on the back neckline binding and has you stabilize the shoulder seams with elastic.  Feel I am finally mastering that technique well.  All seams were serged.  The sleeves are sewn in flat and with the gentle armscye curve, is easy to do right on the serger.
You can see here how far the length comes down on the Ottobre miniskirt.  Am also pleased with the back fabric placement.
 Trying to show the angle from front to back here.  It's nice and gentle.  Adore this length.
Overall I really like this pattern and will definitely make more.  Once you get going, it can be completed in a couple of hours.  And with no head-scratching or frustrating construction.  Nice.
Burda top, Ottobre leggings
EDITED TO ADD:  New cardi in play.....
Outfit details here
Happy Sewing All!  :)

1.25.2019

Itch to Stitch Hepburn Turtleneck x2 repeat...

As part of the recent mini-capsule wardrobe I was working on last Fall 2018, an Itch to Stitch Hepburn Turtleneck was to be my final piece.  But pink?  Why did I choose pink?  Scratching head here..... but pink it was and pink it is.  Guess it does go well with the Burda Hoodie Sweatshirt...... but that wasn't a part of the capsule.
And precisely because the pink dumbfounded me in retrospect.... a lovely piece of ivory rib knit was picked up recently at Joann Fabrics and another, more 'mini-capsule appropriate' ivory turtleneck was made.  Oh dear, no current photo available to show you this one, so will use a recent one you've already seen.  Sorry.  A super quick make, the ivory version was put into strong rotation immediately.  Or rather.... worn almost daily because the soft ivory goes with e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g!    This fabric is the best.  So soft, yet keeps it shape well.
Jacket, Skirt
Two tops were made last year (2018), below, and all the pattern details (and outfit details) are noted at that post, so I won't repeat anything else here because there is nothing new to add.... except.... I'd forgotten the fit is quite figure hugging and it sort of surprised me (again) but that is what makes it an excellent layering piece which is perfect for our South Carolina winter weather.
The pink looks refreshing under the new black Ottobre cardi.   The pink fabric was purchased from Hobby Lobby, I think, and it's a super soft, rayon spandex knit.  Hoping to get the Ottobre Cardis on the blog sometime next week.  ;)  (EDITED TO ADD:  All 3 Ottobre cardis can now be found here)
Might you have noticed the pile-up of projects in progress?  The pink polka dot will be the baby quilt I spoke about in the last post.
And my little box.  This little box is ever so special to me as it belonged to my Alabama great-grandmother possibly dating back to the 1940s?  She must not have used it much, because it's in fabulous shape.....
.....and holds my needles perfectly.  They are so easy to spot in my cluttered workroom.
"And they called it....
puppy love....."
Who remembers that Donny Osmond song?!!!   Ha!  Showing my age with that one.  :)
Our weather has been so crazy.... yesterday was c-c-c-cold, gray and rain, rain, rain.... with today beautifully mild.  Not complaining...!
Happy Sewing All!  :)