Archive for July, 2012

This is my favorite New Look 6871 so far.  I like the bright print, and without any time-consuming embellishments, it was a very fast sew.  I sewed it while listening to Maeve Binchy’s Nights Of Rain And Stars so it will always remind me of a sunny vacation.

Notice my modest and successful placement of the large print.  The next project is still up in the air, but I am looking through my many patterns to see what interests me.  I might even dust off the knitting machine.

UPDATE:  This blouse has turned out to be one of M’s favorites.  She wore it to our anniversary dinner with a turquoise cardigan and a turquoise necklace.  It looked great.

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Still trying to use up some of the stash.  This fabric was from the thrift shop in Sebastopol when they were having a half-off sale, so I paid about $1 per pound of fabric.  Which isn’t very much.  I thought this would look good as office wear with a black cardigan over it.

This pattern doesn’t have very many pieces so is quick to cut out.  Notice that the fabric has large motifs, so I spent the most time trying to avoid unfortunate placement of the “bullseyes”.  Time will tell whether or not that was successful.  If that fails, wearing a cardigan over it is always a sure cure.

M did come over last evening to pick up the green top and try it on, and it fit nearly perfectly.  It is a little more casual looking than New Look 6027, but certainly makes a great summer top.  This yellow top will let the pattern do the talking, so I don’t need to embellish it at all except for the usual topstitching.

In garden news, my zinnias are blooming like crazy:

I ‘m trying to get some fall crops started and have some Swiss chard and some beet and cabbage seedlings trying to grow in the newest heat wave.  They’re not planted out yet, so I can move them to the shade if I need to.

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This top is very easy to make.  Well, except that I have to practice more on the free-motion embroidery.  I also had scads of trouble with the machine buttonhole stitch which didn’t like that heavier cotton thread at all.  There was some ripping and re-doing and some creative covering up, but I ended up with a wearable top, so it’s all good.

The armholes are finished with bias binding tape.  The instructions used commercial bias tape and had you trim excess off of the seam allowances, but I cut my own tape 1 1/2″ wide.  I sewed it on with a 5/8″ seam, trimmed the seam to 3/8″, turned the tape under, understitched it, and then stitched it down.

I also changed the pattern around a little.   I redrafted the back body piece.  I changed it from having the center on the fold to a piece that incorporates the back curve of New Look 6027.  It really worked nicely.  Instead of having the gathers in the middle of the back body piece, I had two small sections of tucks on either side of the center back seam:

The edging at the top was crocheted with the white cotton thread held double.  It is strange how much brighter it looks than the embroidery considering that they are the very same thread.

M is coming over to try it on after work today.  It fits Madame Merp, the duct-tape double, very well, so I have high hopes.

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Time to make a practice garment for New Look 6871.  This is the second muslin, and the hope is that it will be a wearable muslin.  Instead of making a plain garment, I did a little free-motion embroidery on the yoke.  It’s been some months since I did this kind of embroidery, maybe even a year, so I am a little rusty at it, but nothing some practice won’t cure.

This is a plain green cotton I got at the the thrift store in Sebastopol.  It will make a nice cool summer top, if it fits correctly.  I am using a heavier than usual cotton thread for the embroidery.  I like the textured look it gives, and the price was right.  They had lots of these big 9600-yard cones at the thrift shop, and since it was 50% off day, my cost was only $2.50 each.  That’s a lot of thread.

Tomorrow, I’ll cut out the rest of the top and get started on the sewing.

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Some days I feel like puttering around with paper and pen, so I trace patterns, alter patterns or design embroidery patterns for specific garments.  Today I got out some of the designs I had drawn up for straight-yoke Mexican Peasant Blouses and adapted the designs for the curved yoke on New Look 6871.





The photo above shows the design when I put it on a straight yoke, and you can see how I curved it to fit this new top.

Another new sewing skill I would like to try is the faux Hong Kong finish on a skirt.  You cut the underlining out wider than the regular pattern, sew the pieces together and turn them inside out.  The lining wraps itself around the vertical seam allowances forming a seam finish.  I’m going to try it on an A-line skirt for A just for practice.  Today I added the extra width to the skirt pattern and got it all ready.  Now I have one pattern for the skirt fabric and another pattern for the lining pieces.

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Skirts are really fast to sew.  This denim skirt with six gores was easy to cut out and easy to sew.  I’ve already made this pattern for A one or two times, so the fit issues have been worked out, and it is now a TNT pattern for her.  There were 2 1/2 yards of the denim, and it yielded two of these Simplicity 2655 skirts and one A-line skirt.

The denim is very dark and is hard to photograph but here’s an early morning view of the finished skirt:

The hem is wider than an A-line skirt which makes it feminine and comfortable to wear in the summertime.  Below you can see the topstitched yoke and the button tab I put on most skirts.  

This skirt has a side zipper.  I usually put a lapped zipper on side seams and a centered zipper on center back seams.  Instead of sewing two identical skirts one after the other, I decided to sew the A-line version next.  In the photo below, I am  pinning on the top facing.  This pattern, McCall’s 3341, I have also sewn before.  I like the way it has easing stitches between the notches that fit the skirt onto the facing, giving the skirt a nice shape.

In the garden, my zinnias are blooming.  Here’s a nice bright one:

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This morning I cut out the denim skirts for A.  Denim certainly has gotten expensive, at least at JoAnn.  Luckily, I had a 40%off coupon.  I was disappointed in the fabric, though, when I started cutting out the skirts.  The grain was totally crooked, so I just did the best I could by trying to pull the fabric to straighten the grain and then putting the grain marker on the pattern on the straight of grain.  I  left the crosswise grain to its own devices.  The skirt has lots of seaming so I am hoping that will hold everything in line.

Here’s the pattern:

We are using View E which does not have the ruffle.

The lining for the yokes will be some navy broadcloth.  These skirts should be very useful since denim goes with everything.  To make them more versatile, the topstitching will be navy instead of the usual white or gold.

I still have lots of the denim left, so I may make another skirt or make some summer shorts for myself.

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Trying to decide on the next project.  While I wonder what to sew next, I may as well go down to JoAnn’s this week and see what McCall’s patterns are on sale, and see if there is any gauzy fabric to be had.  In the meantime, the garden is doing very well so far:

This little spot is in front of my herb garden.  Some volunteer statice and some white yarrow have flowered together.  I don’t remember what those purple flowers are.

Here are the two front vegetable patches.  We are harvesting summer squash, basil, onions, and cucumbers so far.  I love the way this photo makes the backyard look so much more groomed and neat than it does in real life.

My zinnias are finally blooming enthusiastically:

I was talking with my daughter, A, and we were planning out future sewing for her wardrobe.  She could use some dark denim skirts because denim is always a useful addition to the closet, but I need to find some soft drapey denim fabric.  The only denim I have in the stash is more of an upholstery weight and can almost stand up by itself.

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Stash Busting

The black top went out of the door so quickly that I didn’t get a picture of it, but M has worn it twice already and says it is her favorite version of New Look 6027 so far.  I did find a picture of the batik version, though:

Both the batik and the green knit I sewed on today came from our jaunt to Fabrix  a few years ago.  I don’t go into The City very often because the traffic makes you want to pull your hair out, and you can forget about the parking unless a miracle happens.  I bought three packages of the batik and have now sewn it all.  I used it for this top, a Weekender bag, and bag lining for the purse that she took to Disneyland.  Oh, and that sunbonnet from the leftovers.

Today was a quick sew to make a lightweight top for M to wear in the summer.  We are amazed that we have been having such wonderful mild weather here in sunny California compared to the horrors being suffered in other parts of the country.  This green knitted fabric is fairly thin but still opaque.  It wasn’t too hard to sew, but I felt the inset yoke part needed some fortification, so I both lined and interlined it.

The top should look fine on M though it hangs strangely on Madame Merp, the duct-tape double.  The neckline and armholes are finished with binding.

Here’s the lined yoke piece:

The picture above shows the double line of topstitching done on the front side that holds the lining down flatter.  For both of these versions of the top, I put the yoke inset center on a fold and cut it out as one piece.  We have also adjusted the neckline height until it suits M and is still easy to pull over the head.

New Look 6027 is becoming one of my most-used patterns.  I think what makes it such a good pattern is the drafting.  The side seams have a nice curve to them, and the back center also has a curve that keeps the casual top from being too loose and voluminous, so it is flattering for a wide variety of figure types including plus-sized girls.  I know that this is not the last version of this pattern that I will make.

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