a Deer and Doe Plantain top

What can I say....  I'm probably the last person on the planet to make the Deer and Doe Plantain top.
And I love it!  And it's my new favorite tee.  And I've already worn it three days in a row.  Above photo, and both photos below.  :)  I'm also wearing out my Ottobre pants I love.  Bottom photo right is topped with a rtw cardi.
The Plantain pattern is a free download from Deer & Doe you can find here. 
I made a size 38 with 1/4" serged seams with no modifications except lengthening the sleeves to a long-sleeve length.  I tried hard to match the stripes at the sides.  The stripes are a little 'off' at the shoulders of the sleeves, but that's okay.
I take that back..... I modified the neckline and instead of using the Deer and Doe instructions, used the Narrow Binding on Necklines in Knit Fabric tutorial by Deepika Prakash.  This is the nicest, neatest knit binding I've ever put on by machine and will definitely use this technique again in the future.  I used the rose color stripe of my fabric as the binding color and after trying twice to sew the binding on per pattern instructions, the third time was the charm using Deepika's technique.  By then my poor knit binding piece was stretched out and since scraps had been sewn together to create a length long enough for the binding due to fabric shortage in the first place, I had no choice but to use my stretched out piece of binding for the final application.  As you can see in the photo below, there are little gathers/pleats at the neckline because this neckline was too low, and would not lie straight due to being stretched out, so I came up with the idea to use Coats and Clark Button Craft Thread and a blunt end needle to 'sew' a long length of thread in the wrong side of the binding casing, pulled and knotted it where I liked the way the neckline looked, and tied it off.  Perfect!  It pulled the neckline up enough to where I feel decent, and the top is easy to get on and off anyway AND the little gathers/pleats adds a nice little design feature methinks.
The back.  This top has a little flare from the waist down that is very flattering.
Okay, another modification made was to use one of my decorative stretch stitches to hem this top instead of a twin needle.  (I twin-needle stitched the sleeve hems though)  Anyway, in my sample pieces in the photo below, you can see how the decorative stitch (top piece) lies nice and flat with no puckers.  The bottom piece, that was twin needle stitched, has the typical-to-me channeling and a few puckers.  I got this idea from the Ottobre Women's Design magazine patterns that recommends using a decorative stretch stitch like, this to be used in place of an overlocker, for stitching that will be seen on the garment.  I like it and will definitely use it again. 
This top also fit my daughter and was almost hers, but she wasn't too keen on the stripes.  For the next Plantain, I may narrow the center front and center back widths a little, as well as raise the neckline.  Otherwise, this top is perfect.  I can see many more Plantain tops in the near future!
This project also completes Make a Garment a Month's 'Jump into January' theme of using a pattern from your stash.  After checking the download date of January 2014, this pattern has been unused in my stash far too long.
Happy Sewing Everyone!


2015 - my year in review

It may be mid-January 2016, but I wanted to share my 2015 in review.  I always enjoy looking back on the past year, contemplating where I 'was', where I 'am', and where I 'want to be'.  What a year 2015 has been.  A productive year sewing wise, until my father's passing in September where pretty much all sewing ground to a halt until December when things began to settle down a little.  But today I want to talk about 2015's productivity and what I learned.

When I think about the garments made in 2015, Japanese sewing books and Ottobre immediately come to mind.  THIS was the year of 'discovering' Yoshiko Tsukiori and the beginning of my love for Japanese sewing books.  You can read about this unlined jacket (photo below)   here, pattern n from "Happy Homemade Sew Chic", where I also learned how to enclose seams.....
....then made 2 pattern a dresses from her "Stylish Dress Book" and named them Pointillism (bottom left) and Monet (bottom right).  Monet has a gathered neckline as per pattern instructions, Pointillism is pleated.  The self-fabric belts are a little different too.   And how could I not talk about learning how to insert pockets!!  A life-changer!
The jacket pairs best with each of these dresses.
Then along came another dress from her "Stylish Dress Book Wear With Freedom", pattern m.  I had such fun with this one!  Modified the pattern in a couple of different ways you can read about here.
Another project I greatly enjoyed was self-drafting this little top, below, from "Mrs. Stylebook 2015", a sweet gift from a sweet friend, you can read about it here.  My stretchy knit fabric was probably a little too stretchy and this top looks better worn under a jacket than on its own.
In the throes of tracing patterns from Tsukiori's books, I came across my first Ottobre women's issue mid-year and a new love appeared.  Ottobre patterns seem to fit me well and I made 3 Ottobre No. 10 Sculpture Tops from 2.2015 Spring/Summer issue all three are blogged here....
...and 4 Ottobre No. 14 Loose Fit Pants from 2.2015 Spring/Summer Issue blogged here, here, here and here
Newlook Patterns were still made with 2 Newlook 6246 tops  here and here...
... and 1 NEWLOOK 6735 here. (I made 2 in 2014.  This is one of my favorite Alabama Chanin inspired tops to make.)
Another favorite, 2 Kirsten Kimono Tees here and here....
And 3 skirts
Vogue 1247, Alabama Chanin 4-panel skirt and NEWLOOK 6192. 
A self-drafted Tripod Carrier was made that I love and use always when taking my camera on-the-go.  This flowered duck print fabric was meant to be my muslin and would like to make one in faux suede this year.
Sewed a little for Melissa modifying NEWLOOK 6374 here....
...and 1 comfy pair of pants, McCalls 4979, made here.
2 comfy pair of pants were made for Tom.  Neither blogged, but identical to what I've made him in the past here.
One quilt was made named 'Dreaming of Spring' you can read about here ....
and one flannel (with knit binding) receiving blanket you can read about here.  All given to a sweet family whose third baby was born.
2013 was my first full year sewing garments for myself and 2015 was a pleasurable continuation with emphasis on skill-building and output to replace the dwindling rtw in my closet.  I am not purchasing new rtw, with the exception of cardis, but allowing myself to wear the rtw I currently own.  Statistically 20 garments were made for me, 2 for Melissa, 2 for Tom.  2 quilt/blanket items and 1 tripod carrier for me.  Not much different than 2014, but then I haven't sewn much this last quarter, so really not bad.

I participated in Make a Garment a Month for the 2nd year, as well as a 2nd year of Me-Made-May.  I enjoy both of these groups and each benefit me in different ways.  They will both be continued in 2016.  2015 was my first full year of Instagram where I've found a great sewing community there too.  I participated in a couple of themed sewing photo projects there and until September I was able to keep up with my goal of 1-photo-a-day of 'something' that represented that day to me.  I hope to get back on track with that soon.

Some of my goals for 2015 were not met, and that is okay.  My husband's 1947 CJ-2A Jeep cushions never materialized as the year swept away before more restoration could be done.  I know this is a sewing blog, but thought you might like to see a few photos of the Jeep.  :)
Jeep on Roller Skates (because it doesn't know how to start)
Jeep studying 'How to Start'
First time to start.  A Big Day!
And after years of procrastination, and in spite of purchasing all fabric and supplies, the Roman Shades for the Hearth Room were never made.  This was the photo shared on Instagram during the SewPhotoHop 'Secret Corner of Shame' theme day, below.
Instead we purchased Levolor Tatami Bamboo Roman Shades from Lowe's and had the store custom cut each one for our windows.  I really like this look....... a lot. 
And last, but certainly not least, 2015 was a very special year to connect with international friends, as well as friends in my own country.  You all are dear to me and an integral part of my sewing journey. 

If you've hung in there to the end of this very long post..... thank you.  Thank you for reading my blog and showing interest in the things I make and being a part of my creative journey.   I love our kind, encouraging, supportive sewing community.

Looking forward to 2016!