4.17.2020

Butterick 5935 | Vintage Skirt Pattern

Because I am sick and tired of worrying about all the corona virus stuff..... and sick and tired of making face masks.... and sick and tired of being cooped up.....  we will pretend we are back in what we remember was a lovely 'normal' life and focus on this pretty skirt made from a c. 1970 vintage pattern.
Ahhhh, the 1970's were the best of years.... from a child through my teens I loved, and still love!!, everything about the '70s from the seemingly 'simpler' times, to the music and fashion.  Truly I must have had a skirt like this back then because my heart skipped a beat when I saw this 'old' 'vintage' pattern in a thrift shop last year.
Much pleasant time was spent in thrift stores last year with my daughter who, as a first year teacher, was building her classroom library by purchasing children's books in the thrift stores in our area.  She'd research which thrift stores she wanted to go to, make a little list and off we'd go for the day visiting thrift stores I never knew existed!  And I LOVE thrift stores!!  While she looked at books, I could be found rummaging through stale fabrics and tattered pattern envelopes.  When Butterick 5935 was spotted, one could definitely feel the spark of 'joy'..... and to see the size 26 1/2 made the heart truly skip a beat because that was my size, so this was meant for meeeeee!    Can't remember now how much I paid for it, but probably around 25-50 cents.  Now which view to make?  Really wanting view A, but not wanting in-seam pockets, decided for view B with the slant pockets and zip in back.  Definitely want to make view A at some point though.
The skirt was made back in August 2019, just never blogged, when I had lost so much weight and a size 26 1/2" waist was a perfect fit.  Today, weighing in at a healthier weight, it's a little snug, but wearable.  Removed 2 1/2" off the bottom length, and sewed the hem with a 2 1/2" hem allowance.  And still not sure it might not need to be a little shorter?   What I really like about this skirt is that it is full without being voluminous, if that makes sense.
Um, did I mention it has gathers, and lots of them?!  Gathering is so not my thing, but thought this turned out pretty good..... at least the fabric is very forgiving for any gathering issues.
Wish I'd paid better attention to evening up the flowers on the back.  There's an invisible zip back there with a hook and eye waistband closure.  Unlined with serged seams meant a pretty quick make.  Fabric is a polyester something pulled from the stash but originally purchased at my local open-only-once-a-month-fabric textile outlet center.
So this is what I wore today and thought it felt a little frumpy-ish until my daughter said how nice and fresh it looked.... without my asking.  ;)  At a quick stop at the post office, received another sweet compliment.... so all's good and maybe not so frumpy after all.  Leggings and skinny jeans are the usual daily fashion in my area, and sometimes I just really want to wear a skirt or dress.... so that's kind of odd even then I guess.  Wearing the very old, hardworking linen Ottobre Sculpture top tucked in.
So I'll close wishing everyone good health as we learn to live in our 'new normal'.
Happy Sewing All.  :)

3.24.2020

NewLook 6735 a t-n-t favorite

Needing an easy project, NewLook 6735 was the pattern to turn to.  Again.  Beginning to lose count on how many of these I've made.  Classic pattern.
My t-n-t (tried-n-true) easy wearing tee shirt pattern that's been tweaked here and there, finally re-traced with all the modifications altered and/or noted so it's a sit down and not think about it sort of sew.
What would normally be an afternoon make, took a few days as am finding it hard to concentrate with the constantly changing news drawing me in.  Everything is put down when my President or state governor holds a press conference.  Makes me think of World War II days when families might stop all they were doing to huddle 'round the radio for updates of those serious times.  One point of construction I'd like to note is that I do not gather anything.  With knits its so easy to 'ease' those 'gathers' in.... bust area and even the sleeves.
The sister fabric in the orange-red colorway made Simplicity 1716, below.  This green colorway was supposed to be another top like the Simplicity, but could not bring myself to manage those 6 pleats again in this slinky knit.
Absolutely could care less with the puddling back there.  This top will become part of my workout wear and this does not bother me at all.
When one forgets to take off their glasses..... ;)  Still getting used to my new surroundings and neutral walls.  Miss the woodland setting some days..... but this is much easier when its' cold and rainy outside like today.  Wearing self-drafted leggings/pants that needs work in the fitting department but are comfortable to wear on days like this.
This also completes the Make a Garment a Month sewing challenge for March 'Matching March'.  2 tops out of 2 sister fabrics = Matchy Matchy in my book?!  ;)   This challenge is hosted only on Instagram and you can find the information by going to my instagram page and clicking on this picture to see the hashtags. 
Because I clearly need a break on sewing knits, BurdaStyle 3/2019 #109 will be the next project out of a drapey cream crepe.  Not sure why they labelled this as a 'Blouse' as that would be totally indecent... but I shall call it Over Shirt and think the lovely cream will go with everything.  In our hot summers, the air conditioned indoors are chilly to me, so when I'm wearing a sleeveless dress it will usually be paired with some sort of lightweight jacket or over shirt.  Hoping this will suit that need.
On a completely divergent note..... I am one of those people who enjoy Bible Studies and Daily Devotions...... who only reads Nonfiction and Biographies and maybe a classic here and there like 'Jane Eyre'.  But it didn't always used to be that way.  Many pleasant hours were spent reading Marquerite Henry's 'Misty of Chincoteaque' series, Walter Farley's 'Black Stallion' series and all things horses during my growing up years long ago, so Olga da Polga, the adventurous guinea pig missed my radar.  With the serious times at hand, and the oh-so-cute illustrations and my friend expounding on her love for Olga da Polga as she gave Melissa a copy of her beloved set to take to the classroom so other youngsters could enjoy these out-of-print books.... I could not help but begin the first book before Melissa took it to her school.  Not far in to the reading there is a passage that caught my eye.... the normally spunky, confident, wanting-to-go-places Olga da Polga's thoughts as she was plucked from her familiar surroundings at the pet shop and plunked into a box heading to her new home.
"She had also made an important discovery.  Going places when you know where you are going is one thing, but when you don't know it's quite a different matter." 
Somedays I feel like Olga da Polga.  ;)  We are doing good.... finding the new normal... a new routine.... being flexible for these ever-changing times.  We are so blessed.  And most importantly these days.... we have plenty of toilet paper.  :))
Happy Sewing All!  :)

3.19.2020

NewLook 6735 | an old favorite and a little chat

With a self-imposed commitment to stay at home, not yet mandated in my area but feel in my case it is certainly wise... it is providing a great opportunity to catch up on some makes from last year that I've neglected to blog.  Case in point..... the ever cute and classic NewLook 6735.
An oldie-but-goodie pattern still in print, click here to go to Simplicity's site.  I've had my pattern since I first began sewing my clothes..... sometime around late 2013.  A classic top pattern, this sort of fit never goes out of style.
I've made the long sleeve version as well as the short sleeve you can see here.  This was a Hobby Lobby fabric too, below.
Back in 2014 I finished off the neckline a la Alabama Chanin style because machine stitching a neckline binding on seemed most intimidating at the time.  Wrote a short tutorial you can see here about how I did this.  Sleeve hems were also hand-stitched.  This top, below, was adored and worn until the fabric wore out.
Hard to see, but a key element to a great fit with this pattern are the side seam gathers at the bust line.  I do not gather these the conventional way, but ease them in by stretching the fabric as I sew between the dots.  This is also how I put the sleeves in.  Mimi G gave me this idea of easing in knit sleeves in one of her videos.  Oh my goodness she made it look so easy.  It's not hard.... but I take my time and sew s-l-o-w.  By the way..... I love to watch youtube video creators like Mimi G and Brittany sew because even if I may not be making the garment they are sewing, it's great to learn from the pros!!   Can you tell I took my time and tried to figure out the best fabric pattern placement, below.  Receive compliments on this top every time I wear it and believe it's the fabric that catches folks' eyes.
Fabric came from Hobby Lobby and is still available.  Occasionally Hobby Lobby offers free shipping and that's when I place an online order.  You can see Shirley's cute tank she made out of the very same fabric here.  So funny we purchase the same fabrics from Hobby Lobby!!  I think you already saw this 'action' photo, below, but thought I'd share it again.   Pleasantly surprised to be enjoying my self-defense class, learning a form of Kung Fu...... thus ya' know..... channeling 'Po' below.  Ha!  See the similarities?!!  ;)  Those classes have been suspended as even my beloved YMCA network has closed for now due to trying to slow the coronavirus spread.  Restaurants have closed with the exception of drive-thru or curbside take-out.  Retail stores like Macy's and Ulta have closed.... the entire Mall has closed.  Grocery stores and pharmacies are open with reduced hours and extra time taken for disinfecting.  We are taking this very seriously in my area.... and I am glad. #flattenthecurve
Okay.... on to more pleasant thoughts such as organizing.  Years ago Sarah Liz shared her way of organizing her sewing notes and I thought it was a fantastic idea and immediately copied it using a photo album that holds 4" x 6" 'photos'..... only in my case it holds 4" x 6" index cards.
On each card is this basic template established years ago.  Date of beginning project - date of ending project.  Always note the pattern, awkwardly draw a copy of what I sewed, construction notes and changes I'd make next time..... and last but not least fabric info and swatch.  I've made so many things now, I've begun noting info on the actual pattern itself.... but always continue with the notecard no matter what.
Another little tip.... see that little tag pinned to the slevedge of my fabric?  It tells me the yardage, 'w&d' means 'washed & dried', and source of purchase.  AAF is shorthand for All About Fabrics one of my favorite local haunts.   Another NewLook 6735 view c will be my next project.... and if the fabric might look familiar....
..... it could be because it's the 'sister' fabric to the recent Simplicity 1716.  My original plan was to make 2 of these cowl, 3/4 sleeve tops, but after dealing with all the slippery slidey-ness pinning all those pleats.... decided to go with something much simpler.  Thus the NewLook 6735 short-sleeved view c.
And if I were going to the gym today, this is exactly what I'd be wearing, below.  Instead it's out for a solitary walk then working out at home.
Happy Sewing All!  :)

3.17.2020

Simplicity 1716 | 'Sewcial Distancing'

As the coronavirus begins to spread across the United States.... my city, state and country have begun encouraging folks to social distance and stay home.  Not mandated yet in my area..... but to help #flattenthecurve i.e. slow the spread of this new, highly contagious virus, I have personally chosen to social distance by staying home and "sewcial distancing".  :)
Yesterday our South Carolina governor closed all public schools and universities in our state for at least 3 weeks, so even my daughter, who is a 2nd grade teacher, is working from home as they implement e-learning for her students.  Last week I shopped my stash choosing Simplicity 1716......
Top info
..... paired with a bright and lovely silky knit, as it was clear changes were coming and I needed a pleasant distraction.
Fabric purchased at All About Fabrics
This knit is a luxurious, super slinky, shifting, silky pain in the you-know-what to sew, but will be oh-so-wonderful to wear... so the first order of business was figuring out which needle to use.  Microtex worked well on this.
Having never made this pattern before, chose the tunic length view E, with the cowl neck and 3/4 length sleeves but all along construction was worried this might be too tight through the hips, even though I cut my normal size 10 grading to 12 from the waist down per the Nancy Zieman pivot and slide method.  The working theory was that if the tunic was too tight, it could be cut off to be a top.  Below.... you are looking at the enormous amount of pleats this lovely begins with.  4 to make the cowl drape, and 2 above the bust to add to the drape = 6 total.  The inner cowl is part of the pattern (not attached separately in any way) and folds in nicely during construction.
Below you can see the massive amount of pleat pinning I do.  Each pin plays an important role in forming a perfect pleat.
Even though the knit did not 'mark' well, still tried to mark the pleat lines to the best of my ability, then carefully pinned those lines with vertical pins noting the sewing line.  The horizontal pins are keeping the knit from sliding.... with the last horizontal pin noting where to stop sewing.  Was very pleased with the pleating on this.
Was zooming right along and began pinning side seams together when I realized I was dealing with horrible curling.  As in the curling one would see across the grainline..... not curling one would see on a knit cut along the grainline.  Pulled some of the selvedge scraps to check my cuts and yep.... you guessed it.... I cut the fabric completely opposite the grainline of what it should've been.  *sigh!*  You'd think after sewing my clothes consistently since 2013 I'd be immune to making a 'newbie' mistake like this..... but nope..... mistakes happens to all of us, no matter how long we've been at it.  Okay.  Now what to do.  Luckily in this case, this was a super stretchy 4-way stretch knit, with all directions of stretch pretty much equal.  Whew!  So I continued.  And it was a real pain to pin these curling side seams straight.  ;(
Here's the one and only photo of the top under construction at the tunic length.  After setting the sleeves in flat, (because I'm horrible at setting in sleeves and will always choose flat if I can!), then stitching up the side seams along with the sleeve seams so it could be tried on..... it wasn't only tight..... it was indecently tight from the hips down.
Now let's look again at the pattern.   See the upper right blue dress..... the tunic length was a little shorter than this.... and it looks nice and flowing around her hips.  *sigh*  On to Plan B.... cut it off to a top length of view F and at this point chose to 'ruche' the sides too.  I've never done that before and thought it'd be interesting to see how that all worked.  In this case.... it was sewing a 1/4" wide elastic 4 1/2" long to pre-determined points on both side seams.
And this is what it became.  Sewed 1 1/4" hems in sleeves and top's hem.
 Worn with the Ottobre mini-skirt on this stay-at-home day......
 .....thinking everything looked great until I saw these photos.  See the 'ruching' on the left side?  Something looks very wrong there.
 And again..... below..... yuck.
 Hmmmm..... definitely needs the seam ripper.
Meanwhile..... as I was writing this post to get a pattern link for you (looks like it may be out of print)... I realized that 2 of my sewing buddies have made this pattern before..... Sarah Liz made this very top sans ruching (which may be what I end up doing!) and Shirley who made the alternate neckline as a dress.  Funny story about Shirley.... the last couple of tops she and I have made we've chosen the very same fabrics from Hobby Lobby!!  And we don't even live anywhere near each other.  Great minds think alike, no?!!
So future plans are to think of this time at home as an opportunity to definitely sew, as this little top was the most pleasant distraction to deal with all the uncertainty at hand.... but also to work on some of those other projects I've been putting off, like painting a couple of tables and finish settling in.  Am I concerned for my own personal health?  Guess we all carry some trepidations about that, as this is such an unprecedented, unknown virus..... but my most concern is that I do not want to be a carrier and expose my loved ones and sweet elderly friends to something that might end their life.... not to mention the possibility of overwhelming our medical system with too many sick at once.  So everyone please be safe.

Edited to add:  Carolyn over at Diary of a Sewing Fanatic has written a short post of #sewstayhome that you might want to read too.  She mentions blogging more to bring sewing joy while she is at home too.  I really like her hashtag and definitely will be doing the same. 

Hugs!!!