April Sewing

There’s another completed shirt ready to photograph but it has been too dark to take pictures.  We are having a rainy April so far which is not the usual California weather, but we are happy about it.  The last big storm pushed our rainfall totals over the normal yearly amount.  This week there is just not enough light to photograph a garment, so I have pushed ahead with new projects.  There’s been a lot of pattern drafting and examining of fabric, but today I finally got with the program and cut some new shirts out.  Here’s the fabric that was pulled out of the pile:


I’m a little tired of making collars and stands at the moment so wanted to make a lapel front shirt like the red and white one I made but with 3/4-length sleeves.

DSC02055 and with a pocket or two:

DSC02058This would be my basic Sure-fit Designs blouse with a shirttail hemline, 3/4-length sleeves, and a lapel collar copied from McCall’s 7066.  The lapel collar is easy to sew and looks really nice.  Here it is on the red and white shirt:


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The floral shirt is all cut out and I had time to cut out a royal blue print, too.  I’m not sure of the fabric content but probably a rayon blend since it has a nice drape to it.  I’ve gradually been accumulating a collection of those big metal washers to use as fabric weights and they work very well.

DSC02054Long ago I used to have a pair of electric scissors and the scissors got a lot of use until they died of overwork, but I got another pair for a gift a few years ago and am finally getting around to using them.  I tried them out on the rayon fabric, but they are probably better for using on heavier fabrics since the lighter ones scoot around while you are trying to cut them.  Maybe they could be used to cut the thick fleece I’ve been sewing.

Between Projects

I didn’t sew at all this week, which is unusual for me.  I discovered Picasa Web Albums and the wonderful magazines people have posted there and spent a lot of the week going through sewing and needlework magazines.  For a break towards the end of the week, I went up to the next county to visit the craft thrift store and came home with a nice haul of fabric, mostly lovely linens and printed knits.  I am amassing quite a large mountain of fabric in the guest room so better get busy and sew a lot of it up before it falls on someone.



My daughter, A, picked up the gray shirt and tried it on.  It fit very well, so I have been mentally designing different variations of it to keep the sewing interesting while I crank out multiple versions for her to wear to work.  I pulled out several patterns with different kinds of collars and cuff variations so will be trying these out.  My fabric from the craft thrift store includes over 8 yards of a most beautiful teal linen, which is calling out to be cut and sewn.  However, I have a red shirt for me all ready to go, I just need to get off the computer and over to the sewing machine.



Rainstorm Sewing

We are finally getting some really good rain here in California.  This storm is supposed to go on through Monday, so, since we must stay indoors, there is lots of sewing going on.  This week I worked on the gray shirt for A and finally finished it this morning.

DSC01974The collar and cuffs are lined with a deep raspberry red.  It was difficult finding buttons the right color of gray, so these buttons, having languished in the button bin for decades, finally got used.  They are a sort of gray/dark raspberry mix that reminds me of old linoleum.  I sewed them on with dark raspberry thread.

DSC01979One of these days I am just going to cut off those silly little arms I originally put on the duct-tape double dressform because they are annoying and don’t show off the garment correctly.


DSC01976This fabric was some sort of blend, and it doesn’t take a press very well, but it should wash without wrinkling too much.  We’ll see how it wears because I still have some left to use up.

Next up in line is some lingerie for one of the daughters and more shirts for me.

This fabric is a thin knit with a border print that I bought by the pound at the craft thrift store.  The piece of fabric had lots of yardage, enough for two more tops at least.  The border is only on one side of the fabric:


Since New Look 6027 has a rectangular set-in yoke, I decided to use the border for the yoke.


When the fabric has a lot of drape like this one, I underline the yoke and then line it.  This fabric was so floppy, though that I ended up quilting it to the lining, but the print is so busy that you can’t see the stitching.


DSC01965Above is the view of the inside of the yoke.

The armholes and the neckline are finished with self-fabric strips.  This week, M brought over one of the tops I had made for her from this pattern a few years ago so that I could see what I did the last time I made it.  I do try to make notes on the pattern envelope telling what I changed or how I did things, but sometimes I forget.

Thin knits like this aren’t the easiest fabric to sew, but they tend to travel well, don’t wrinkle much and are easy to hand wash and dry if you are in a hotel room.  I need to think of how to use up the rest of the yardage.

So that is the end of the machine being threaded in white thread for now.  I tried to find all the things I could sew while the white thread was still on the machine, but now it is time to put the gray thread on and finish up the shirt for A.

UFO Expose

Every once in awhile I like to get out all the ziplock bags of cut-out projects to see what there is and to, hopefully, spark the mojo.


Left to right in columns top to bottom:

Column 1:  Crepe blouse – me,  dress and jacket – me, shirt – me,  denim skirt – A

Column 2:  Royal blue tops – me, shirt – J, shirt – J, knit top – me

Column 3:  Shirt – A, top – M, shirt – me, experimental top – me, knit top – A

Column 4:  Fleece vest – me, shirt – me,  flannel shirt – me, top – M

Age of oldest UFO?  Well, the truth is lost in the mists of time, but maybe 15 years.

Age of newest UFO?  One hour

This week I am going to finish up the black/white/red top for M (ziplock in bottom right corner) and then I will remove the white thread from the machine and finish up the gray shirt for A.  I had quite a length of fleece left after the blue print vest, so I tried cutting another one out to see if I could squeeze a vest out of 1 1/2 yards of fabric.  Yes, I can.  It takes a little fudging but it can be done.  The next one I sew will have buttons instead of a zipper just to see if that will work.  I hope it does because there are colors of fleece for which it  would be impossible to find matching zippers.  It will be interesting to see if I can make buttonholes on fleece.


Blue Print Fleece Vest

This vest was another experiment.  I narrowed the wide shoulders to see what would happen.  I like them except that the narrower shoulders change the way the very large armhole looks and drapes, but that’s an easy fix for the next version.  I’m going to raise the armhole about 1 1/2″.  Other than that, I really like it and it will get a lot of wear.



I did a lot of hand basting on this vest which does decrease the amount of ripping out I have to do.  The next project will be something cotton that is less trouble to sew.  No, wait, I forgot that I have to finish up that gray shirt first.

Now that I have four very nice fleece vests to wear on cold winter mornings, the spring temperatures will surely get warmer so that I have to wait until next winter to wear them.

Busy Week Of Sewing

Not that I have much finished to show for the busy week, but I did finish one top.  We visited with A over the weekend and had her try on the gray shirt, and the fit was excellent.  This means that I can now churn out one shirt after another in different fabrics for her to wear to work.  This is the beauty of a Tried-and-True pattern.  I think I’ll experiment with different cuffs and collars and maybe tucks, embroidery and/or lace.  Back at home, there are three shirts cut out for me and two or three for M.  We talked about a plain, useful white top for M but I ended up trying a lace overlay on the yoke just for the fun of it:

DSC01938The fabric is a white knit that is not too thin.  Because I didn’t want to have topstitching around the neckline or armholes on the lace, I used a binding.



In addition to this top, there is a black/white/red top half done for M using a border print knit.  There is also yet another fleece vest half done that should be finished up today, chores willing, and another cut-out shirt for A to get started as soon as I finish up the gray one.

We are still getting the occasional rain storm but Spring has definitely arrived here.  The almond trees are blooming and the daffodils are also in bloom.


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