2.26.2019

Tunic Top | NewLook Pattern 6292

Do you ever buy a pattern.... so excited to make that pattern at the time, then find it sort of lingers in the pattern stash collection for years..... quietly talking to you every time you thumb through the patterns, yet always the one overlooked and unmade.  That's the way it was with NewLook 6292.  And now it's finally made.
As long time readers of this blog know by now, it seems most of the items I make have some sort of story to tell, and this tunic top is no different.  It was not planned..... not in the queue nor anyway near my radar until I made these gray suede stretch leggings, below, last week.  I've been fairly successful methinks in mashing up a Burda and Ottobre legging pattern to create a customized version and as I wore these to snap a photo for Instagram last week, it felt I needed a little more coverage.... particularly in the front.  The Ottobre Swing Cardi covered the back well..... but the front sort of bugged me. 
Cardi, Top, Leggings unblogged
A thoughtful search for a longer, more tunic-style length top pattern in my collection produced NewLook 6292, that looks like it is still available here.  Pattern Review has a few reviews of the pattern and is also available there.  Anyway, I thought view D..... the greenish one at the top, with it's split hem, higher in the front, longer in the back.... with the front still being over the crotch area might work.   This beautiful rayon challis type fabric came from my only-open-once-a-month textile outlet fabric store All About Fabrics..... and if you look closely there is a soft gray within the circles.  It looked nice held up to the gray suede leggings.  Though I'm not a big fan of hi-lo hems, I thought this one might work well for me. 
This fabric was all slippery-slidey so from the very beginning of pattern placement I took my time and double/triple checked before all cuts.  I am pleased and think the alignment of the fabric's print shows a quality of workmanship and higher skillset I've worked hard to achieve.  Believe it or not, this was my first split placket (is this what it's called?!) I've ever made.  Instructions were good and I reeealllly took my time with not only centering the cut, but also the stitching of the placket.  Hard to see because of the brown thread blending in..... but it is even on both sides.  The only step I had trouble with was the neckline binding/facing.  Instructions had you understitch and layer seam..... but did not have you clip the seam and think that would've helped with everything laying flat without such a headache.  Ironing had to be done very carefully because I found out quite quickly my fabric melted.  ;)
The split hi-lo hem was super easy to do.  I chose to serge the raw fabric edges of front and back pieces before stitching together.... then simply turned back twice and topstitched at the split hem.  Not sure I like the hi-lo look of this on me.  It feels like I've got some sort of weird tail back there or something.  If it bothers me enough it's still long enough to cover the derriere if I even it up with the front.  I think.  This is a size 12 straight from the pattern envelope with no modifications even though my hip measures more of a size 14.  This may be why it looks 'straight' on me when I thought the pattern envelope showed it to be a little more flowy in the hip area.  It also fits me snug through the back shoulders which I found odd as that's where I usually have to narrow patterns.  So if you are broad shouldered you might need to keep that in mind.  Sleeves are long-sleeve length with an 1 1/4" hem I simply top-stitched..... same as bottom hems.
Today I've got it paired, not with the gray suede leggings, but with a newly made brown ribbed knit leggings from the same mashed up pattern.  These leggings are so simple, and I've got it down pat now that it takes maybe an hour from start to finish.  The brown ribbed knit has been in the stash as long as the top fabric and I had always planned on doing something with them together.  Still think this will look good with the gray leggings.
These photos were snapped as I headed out to the Tuesday morning Ladies Bible Study I enjoy at my church.  And to my super delight..... out of the blue one of the sweet ladies said how much she loved my top and asked if I made it.  *insert big smile here*  They know my little secret of how I sew my clothes and this nice compliment really made my day.
We've had super weird weather lately.  A week ago we had sleet and hail covering the ground, with a lightning storm that struck our home twice the very next night..... we woke to smoke and the smell of fire in the house...... then rain, rain and more rain the rest of the week.  This was one of the first days we've been dry and even now are expecting more rain tomorrow.  The lightning strike took out our internet service and we are only just now back online.  Am so grateful all our other electronics were spared and our home was okay. 
Happy Sewing All!  :)

2.20.2019

Fabric Face Masks | An Easy but Fiddly and Free Project

Have you ever considered making a fabric face mask?  Some folks who deal with allergies may feel their only option is the disposable paper mask, but a mask of soft fabric might be something to consider.  My sweet  companion Suzi, below, is sporting a lovely pink fuzzy barrette given to her by her sweet groomer Erin and you will see in a minute how all that connects to face masks.  ;)
Top, Pants
Suzi is a high maintenance border collie mix, who not only needs a special prescription diet, has allergies to most things.... but also needs monthly grooming.  Her grooming is more than just a bath and blow-dry, needing teeth brushing, ear cleaning and anal glands expressed regularly..... a necessity for Suzi that is part of keeping her well and healthy.  So we love Erin, her groomer, who we see every 4 weeks.    I don't share with many folks that I sew my clothes..... which sounds so funny with how active I am about all that here and on IG.... but generally have found that it creates an awkward pause that most nice people just don't know what to say because it is such an anomaly in my area.  So it caught Erin by surprise when I shared a couple of sewing related things on Facebook and she texted me asking if I could make her a couple of fabric face masks because she's allergic to dog dander, and that she'd like to pay me.  Erin is the sweetest, kindest, most generous person of all..... so of course I said 'sure' and that there'd be no payment and could she send me a photo of what she'd like.  In my mind I'm thinking face mask?  Where in the world can I get a pattern for a face mask?!!
Shiny coat, bandana and barrette means Suzi saw Erin this morning
This is the image Erin sent me, below, linking it back to the Etsy shop where it was listed for sale for $17.51 + $13 for shipping from the UK to USA.  Adjustable elastic around the ears, fully covering the nose, mouth and chin.  Those are the features I zeroed in on.  And pattern.... at this point was certain I'd have to figure all that out on my own.
Etsy Listing link 
So imagine my surprise when a simple Google search provided the one and only perfect pattern!  And it was free!!   Craft Passion drafted 3 sizes in their simple pattern and provided step-by-step instructions.  Somehow I printed a little .pdf booklet, but today can only find the instructions on their website.   Anyway.... it is free.  A big Thank You to Craft Passion for providing this great service.
So leave it to me to overthink everything at this point.  *Cue rolling the eyes here!*  Knowing Erin needed these for allergies, I thought about what sort of fabrics would make the best filter.  Bottom left is a cotton gauze to be lined with soft cotton knit, bottom right is 100% linen to be lined with cotton muslin.  Those fabric contents would filter allergens well, right?
Below you can see how they made up.  Cotton knit was not a good lining as it kept collapsing on itself and honestly they were just all blah.  I was so focused on filtering, I wasn't thinking aesthetics.  And these pitiful elastics were just...... pitiful.  Wimpy, too stretchy, too flimsy.... but they were all I had on hand and could find at my local notions dept.
The blahness of the original 2 affected me to the point where a quick look in the stash provided a couple of cute 100% cotton quilting prints that became the 2 masks below, both lined in 100% cotton muslin.  These 4 masks were taken to Erin as a sort of prototype/sample for her to let me know what worked best for her.
She immediately gravitated to the cat fabric and said she loved purple.   After a few days of using, she also said the cottons worked great and were the best because they kept their shape.  She loved that it covered her nose, mouth and chin and that the pattern was perfect.  She also added that they laundered well.  She was a trooper about the disappointing elastics,  but I knew there was definitely room for improvement there.
Knowing I had a good pattern, now I turned to Etsy for cute doggie fabric.  And boy what fun I had!!  As everyone knows, Etsy is a marketplace for independent sellers and I had the great good fortune to land on The Fancy Flutist Finds site when she was selling her stash of doggie fabrics.  Such a super nice seller.  After responding almost immediately to my e-mail asking for reduced shipping charges due to combining fabrics, she asked what I would be making.  When she realized I needed such small pieces, aka scraps really, she included all the doggie scraps she had for free in my package too.  What a nice surprise!!  Isn't the envelope she made for me fun too?!!
These are the larger pieces I purchased.  It was doggie cuteness overload.  I specifically tried to buy the prints that had purple after Erin shared with me that was her favorite color.  Now it was time to sew all the face masks.
The face masks are super easy to sew..... just fiddly and a little more time consuming than one would think.  All are 100% quilting cotton lined with 100% white cotton muslin.  But honestly the biggest headscratcher was what to use for the elastic around the ear.  I purchased a couple of different types of sturdy elastic cording from another Etsy seller and initially thought the problem was solved..... until I realized knotting them was awkward.... actually they would not knot and stay knotted.... and my poor Bernina absolutely could not sew through the rubberized middle of those things.  More time was lost spent on figuring out how to attach those darn elastics until the thought crossed my mind about hair elastics.  Or better known in my world as Ponytail Holders.  :)
These are soft, stretchable and already secured in a circle..... so no awkward tying of knots or adding a cord stop.  Actually one of my originals had cord stops added to the elastics and Erin spoke of how it rubbed her ear and didn't feel good.
These certainly seemed to be the right size for the mask needs and it was fun to match colors to masks.
The way I chose to sew them in is how I've got my machine set up below.  Both sides of the mask are left open, so I simply placed the elastic within the seam allowance and slowly, carefully stitched the seam closed encasing the elastic as I went.
Fiddly but easy!!
All the insides.
Wanting to show the great curved form that covers the nose, mouth and chin.....
All done and ready to be used.
In all I think I made maybe around 10 doggie print face masks.... just forgot to take photos.  It was quite exciting to take all these to Erin as she thought the original 4 were 'it'.  :)
Priceless to see Erin's look on her face as she unfolded each one and tried them all on.  She said the ponytail holder elastics were p-e-r-f-e-c-t.    She even gave Suzi an extra spa day as a sweet thank you.
So never in my wildest imagination would I have thought the sewing skillset I have been working so hard to achieve over all these years would be used in this way.   And I am so VERY grateful for the opportunity those skills provided for this sweet project.

Happy Sewing All!  :)

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!  :)