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!  :)


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!  :)


2019 Plans, Projects, Goals and Dreams

As January begins to wind down, I wanted to pop in and share with you some of my plans for this year as they are beginning to take shape.
Itch to Stitch Hepburn Turtleneck, Dress
First up.... Sarah Liz Sew Style's 'Make a Garment a Month Challenge'.  I've linked to her blog here, but really her challenge is robust on Instagram under the hashtag #magamsewalong and by tagging @sarahlizsewstyle.  You can check out her Guidelines and Themes on my sidebar to the right.  It's a great no pressure challenge with lots of encouragement and support from Sarah Liz and the other participants.  I've been a part of this since 2013 and have chosen Capsule Wardrobe for my 2019 annual theme and for the January's theme of 'Joy' will be making a piece of this suit set, from a lovely vintage pattern kindly gifted to me from @pdxsquared on IG because her friendship brings me lots of Joy.  A few months ago she posted this pattern on IG and after I mentioned I'd love to make this jacket, and that it just so happened to be in my size, this lovely package arrived by the end of the week. #sewingfriendsarethebest !!
The skirt will be out of this taupe linen (left), the jacket will be out of the embroidered linen (bottom) and blouse out of a polyester silky cream satin (right).  Thinking since I'm running short on time for this month, the skirt will be January's project, with the jacket and blouse to follow for the 2 following months with all to be complete to be my Easter outfit for this year.  The skirt is a narrow pencil skirt, which does not suit my body type well, so will be modifying the pattern a bit there.  Very excited to be making this and am so grateful to Mary for the opportunity.
Absolutely looking forward to another Me-Made-May hosted by SoZo.....  This will be my 5th year?!

Designin' December hosted by Linda who blogs over at Nice dress, thanks I made it is another challenge I enjoy.  Designin' December, as I understand, is a challenge where you use a 'designer', or some other rtw item you admire, to recreate.  I was able to participate in 2017, but because of everything going on end of 2018... I'll talk more about that in a bit.... it was missed.  The 2017 dress won a free Sense & Sensibility Pattern.... I chose the 1940s Swing Dress , below, that's never been made.   I'd like to make it this year, maybe closer to Spring/Summer.  Also, what I did not understand until Linda so kindly reminded me recently, is that we can work on this challenge all year long and present the garment in December.  This will surely take the pressure off!!
Artwork copyright Anna Lankford
There's loads of challenges over on IG if you are interested, check out SewOver50's fabulous compilation post.  Judith who hosts SewOver50 took the time to pull this list together and there's something in there for everyone, no matter your age.  There's a couple more challenges I'll probably be involved in as am finding these Challenges do help in inspiring creative works and getting projects done.  What began as a half-hearted interest in most of the 2018 Challenges, became some of my fondest works.  Like the Frida Kahlo challenge that produced this cute skirt, below that is in strong rotation now that our weather has cooled.
Jacket, Itch to Stitch new Hepburn Turtleneck, Skirt
Not sure what's going on with the Burda Challenge this year.  It was such great fun to be a part of the 2018 Burda Challenge with Burda's support, and certainly my production of Burda garments showed the enthusiasm.  (I made 12 Burda garments last year.)  It is wonderful when a pattern company shows its support in such a nice way.  Meg wrote a post here for how she's organizing 2019 and not sure I understand.  I will definitely be making Burda garments in 2019 but may let my subscription expire to catch up on the back issues.  Haven't decided about all that yet.  The 2018 Challenge motivated me to make something from each new issue which was a new concept for me and really pushed me in my work.  Thank you Burda for a very sweet 2018.

A couple of quilts are planned for 2019.  Fancy Fox Quilt Pattern was purchased years ago, maybe 2015?, to make for my daughter's graduation with a bachelor's degree from Clemson University.  She graduated in 2016.  Now she's on track to graduate with her Master's Degree this May.  The deadline has been set..... this WILL be made!  She wants all the fox faces to be red.  Meanwhile, a baby quilt is already in the works for a sweet couple at church that I'll be showing soon.  Using the free Lattice Baby Quilt Tutorial from Amy Smart who blogs at Diary of a Quilter.  And pink, lots of pink.  :)
I haven't spoken much of it here, but for the past few years I've been a type of caregiver for my mother-in-law.  Even when a loved one lives on a Memory Care side of an Assisted Living Facility there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure that loved one is taken care of properly...... not to mention regular visits, taking supplies, doctor's appointments.... the list goes on.  In mid-December my mother-in-law passed away.  It was as expected as any 85 year old's passing could be, yet at the same time so unexpected as she seemed in such great health, we all thought she'd outlive us!  She is the last of our parents to go to their heavenly home.  No more caregiver role to fill.  This creates an opportunity now to be able to concentrate on my own personal needs..... particularly health and fitness.  Always athletic and generally 'in shape', at 58 am realizing I can't fool around anymore.  There needs to be a consistent cardio, strength training and flexibility routine in place as each day I am more and more aware of the creakiness and pains of aging.  2019 will be the year to put my own health at the forefront.  I'd like to cover this topic more on the blog with maybe monthly updates and thoughts of what is working, or not working, for me.
T-shirt, Hoodie, Leggings
I'll still keep working on my Photo Journal site with (almost!) a photo a day.  This is a fun exercise for me to work on photography skills in any context that suits my fancy, though mostly it's a journal of my life through my handmade outfits.  I might add, it is also a fabulous way to really 'see' myself..... my posture, the way I'm holding myself..... a very effective way to get sort of a reality check on things that need improvement.  I may do a weekly/monthly compilation post here at times this year.  For instance, this post is pulling from a lot of recent photos I've posted there.
McCall's Sherpa CoatHepburn Turtleneck, Ottobre pants
Other opportunities have opened for me this year and a real big one is music.   Another part of my life that is not discussed much here is that I love to play the piano.  From 2003-2009 I had the great good fortune to play piano for my church but have hardly played since as music is like writing..... one wants their writings to be read..... one wants their music to be heard.  I am SO blessed to have been invited to spend time with a master pianist in our area each week and am hoping to play good enough again to be able to contribute to the music in some small way at the church we presently attend.  May I share that I cried tears of joy when she and I set all this up.  She is a precious lady in so many ways and I look forward to our time together.
Thrift store sweater, Ottobre pants
As I begin to draw this post to a close, I want to include the link below to one of the best motivational videos I've seen in a long time.  Dominique Sachse is a news anchor in Houston, Texas and uses her YouTube channel to share fashion, makeup and lifestyle goals.  She is fabulous! I am so very glad I stumbled upon her site.  Anyway...... her "2019 New Year's Resolutions to Look and Feel Your Best" is the best.  Hope you might find encouragement from her too.

 Meanwhile, am so very excited about the prospects and opportunities 2019 holds.  It will be a wonderfully creative year.  Will be back soon as there's 3 Ottobre cardis and 2 Itch to Stitch Hepburn Turtlenecks that need proper posts.
Itch to Stitch Hepburn Turtlenecks can now be found here
3 Ottobre swing cardis can now be found here 
Baby Quilt (created free-form) can be found here
Happy Sewing All!  :)


A Possible Bag

I'm completely in love with my new Possible Bag!  The term 'Possible Bag' hails from early frontier days and would be "a bag for every possible thing".  Particularly the nineteenth century frontiersmen's small bag/pouch (think Davy Crockett) that would hold small gear for hunting.  Well I'm not hunting, but I like the idea of 'possibilities'.
This is a modified bag from Mary Mulari's now out of print 'Made For Travel' Book.  One might remember Mary as a frequent guest on Nancy's Zieman's TV show 'Sewing with Nancy'.  I bought this book for $1.00 at our local library's book sale years ago.  Once a month the library holds a book sale of books that have been donated that would not be suitable to add to their collection as well as books they are culling from their collection.  Funny story.... this book was a part of their collection that I'd check out frequently until all of a sudden it was no longer available.  Imagine my surprise to find it at their Book Sale where I quickly secured my purchase and was ever so happy to have it now in my personal collection.
Her Bedside Bag caught my eye with its rounded top and boxed bottom corners.  We are very lucky to have an awesome YMCA near my home and I am trying to work on more consistent exercise there and part of that is having the proper gear to hold my little things.... like phone, driver's license, etc. and thought a little bag like this might work.  I don't like to use the lockers, so the bag has to be built to stay with me or hang on hooks on the wall in the room I'm in.
This is Mary's larger version bag pattern photocopied from the book with seam allowances added.  At first I thought a wristlet would be a good idea and dove in making a faux leather version.
Some mistakes but overall a big learning experience.  A biggie..... it needed body to hold its shape.  This little bag collapses on itself and gives my phone/stuff no protection.
 I did line it and added a little pocket....
 .....as well as the wristlet and found I do not like a wristlet at all.  Also used an All Purpose Zip and though it works great 'zipping' open and shut, the small zipper head is puny.  Even after adding some little wooden beads it just doesn't look right.
Also added a tab and small ring with leather latigo and again.... yuck.  Doesn't look right.  But I have been using this little bag, which turned out to be a good idea because it gave me more time to figure out exactly what I needed.
I needed more room.  So I redrew the pattern, keeping the basic shape as I found I really liked the rounded top.  Not using/liking the wristlet I was grabbing the rounded top to carry my little bag and thought that made a better grip than a square bag.
Mary's original pattern is on top of my newly drawn modified pattern and basically the only difference was widening the sides a little.
Having bought this awesome canvas at my local only-open-once-a-month textile outlet center a few months ago for maybe $10/yard?  Maybe less?  Embracing a more organic, natural product and nature colorway, thought this might make a great bag.  Ummm, yep it did!  *squeal*  This was one of those projects that I could 'feel' was turning out so good during construction, that it almost frightened me to go to the next step.... afraid to mess it up.... if that makes sense.
But move ahead I did and this time LOTS of changes were made..... beginning with using a fusible fleece to create a more stable fabric and padding.  But the biggie has to be a metal zip!!!  Yes!!  I was able to figure out how to install a metal zip without breaking a needle or sewing over my fingers!   I'd ordered a bunch of different sizes and metals metal zips from Wawak during one of their sales and that is where having a cool stash of products comes in handy.  It really is small details like this that really raises a handmade item to a higher quality in my eyes.  This time I remembered to take a few pictures during construction. The key to sewing a metal zip is to line up the edge of your zip tape of the opening of the zip even with your fabric and use that 1/2" or so of zipper tape to sew on in your side seam allowances.  This also hides the ends of your zip tape inside your seam allowances.  My seam allowances were around 1/4" - 3/8" or so.  Below you can see the closed zip head is even with the side of the bag.
Now re-work the zipper stop to the size you need using fabric.  I cut about a 1" x 4" strip of canvas and began by sewing the canvas as a stop this way first... down the sides..... not across the zipper teeth.  Maybe 1/4"-3/8" stitching is all you need.  I folded my canvas over maybe 1/4"/3/8" so no raw edges would show on top of the zip.  I also have more canvas showing here as I wasn't sure how much to cut off at this point.  Where your stitching stops, and all measurements have been carefully checked and double checked! then cut your zip.... but not your fabric at this point.  Yes, you can cut through a metal zip with an old pair of scissors and very carefully.  It was no big deal.
You can see here below in this fuzzy shot.... my dark brown zip has been cut just beneath where the stitching stopped and that left my long canvas tail.  At this point cut your canvas even with your bag's sides.  I got so excited that everything was working well I did not take anymore photos of this stage, but hope you get the idea.
You might can see better here what I'm talking about.  This is the newly completed zipper stop with the top-stitching also complete.  What this does is gives you about 3/8" of canvas, far right, to sew through and completely miss sewing through any metal from your zip as you complete your bag.
Attention was paid to little details like matching fabric pattern.....
.... a little off but doesn't bother me a bit...
..... this was tricky to sew through as my fabric is a mid-weight canvas with top-stitched knit jersey strips.  So it was all roller coaster for my poor sewing machine and got pretty thick and bulky in places...... but my sweet Bernina handled it all like a charm.   Particularly after I changed my needle to a Denim weight.  ;)  Below you can also see I added a canvas tab instead of a wristlet.  This will work well for hanging on hooks at the Y.  I triple stitched it inside the seamline to the seamline during construction because I do not want any weak points.  Decided not to box the bottom corners as was afraid of the bulk and not really sure I needed that at this point anyway.
I added a little raw silk pocket inside to hold my earbuds and lined the whole thing with linen striped ticking.
Perfect!  It holds all my stuff exactly like I wanted and needed.
But the best thing of all is this little finishing touch of  'jewelry'.  As I looked at my plain little completed bag, I began to think..... 'What would Sue do'.  Sue has been making up a bunch of bags recently using all sorts of thrift store odds and ends....
.... so I began to channel Sue and found an old belt of my mother's that I'd put away.... made of suede latigo, beads and metalwork and in short order had worked it into my new project.  Felt it was fitting as I've always loved Native American Indian lore, and some think there is Cherokee in my mother's line from Oklahoma.....  it added to the character of my 'Possible Bag'..... and in some small way my mother is a part.
Anyway, back to the making..... took a few minutes to sew a small 'pocket' out of the raw silk to hold my driver's license and a little money.  I am serious about making this bag work well for the Y and needed to reduce bulk.  I don't want to take my wallet inside, much less my purse, and also don't want to leave anything in my car.
Well, the key fob I made during my 'making' storm of December looks a little out of place now.  One thing I like about this key fob is that it's easy to find and grab!
And all ready to go with my new Possible Bag with a new year full of possibilities.
Happy Sewing All!  :)