Thursday, March 05, 2015

Vogue 7632 - The Skirt

Classic separates are seriously going to be my friend as I update my wardrobe. However, unlike my previous attempts at sewing my own wardrobe, I want statement separates...pieces that have a little sumthin' sumthin'...that have more details on them or where the fabric speaks loudly. Because unlike past sews, my basics still work due to elastic waistlines...this frees me to experiment and change things up a little. 

In the picture below I'm wearing the skirt with a bodysuit that I bought back in the late '80s/early '90s.

Some stats ~
Polyester brocade purchased from Fabric Mart last fall

9" invisible black zipper
red rayon seam binding
1/2" black button
waistband interfacing from Nancy's Notions
red bemberg lining

Construction ~
This is not a difficult skirt to sew.  The pattern instructions were very easy to follow which I needed, to make sure I put the pleat inserts in correctly. I love how they release at the bottom of the skirt, giving it movement yet it has a close fitting silhouette.

Before sewing the pleat inserts onto the skirt front, I basted the skirt front and back together to check the fit on me and I have to say that I was impressed with the fit...too bad there was no one around to take a picture! *LOL*

So a few things:
- the fabric raveled like crazy
- the pattern doesn't call for a lining but I added a short one...ending above the pleats. I probably should have underlined the fabric with a silk organza to help with wrinkling...since it wrinkles easily.

- the lining hem is turned under 1/2" and machine stitched then basted to the wrong side of the skirt front. The center back seam is handstitched to the zipper tape.

- the rayon seam binding was folded in half and pressed. Then I machine stitched it to the skirt hem. The final hem was hand stitched down. However, pressing the hem in place proved challenging. I think I should have paid closer attention to the pattern instructions ~ even though eventually I got it to work!

- the waistband has a button closure. I added red thread to the button as a cute touch. I wanted to show a close up of the waistband to share that I made two buttonholes but only had enough space for one button. See even I make mistakes.

Here is how I styled this skirt for a more casual look...

If you want to make your own version of the skirt since my pattern is OOP. You can try one of these:

Also, my pattern is available on Etsy and Ebay if you want the actual skirt - don'tcha just love the internet!

One last shot...I know that this is a picture heavy post but its been snowing since before I woke up this morning. The newscasters are predicting about 8-10" of snow today so my daughter and I took a couple of pictures on the patio. Here's one...

Yeah that's snow swirling around me and what I'm standing in!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Fabric, Trim & Buttons from Expo

I know I showed my fabric purchases from Expo but being the fabricaholic that I am  I wanted to talk a little about them and a few of the other things I purchased but didn't share yesterday.

Let's start at the beginning ~

This is how my fabric arrived today...

Pendleton Wools ~
The first place that we went was the Pendleton booth. I've lusted after Pendleton wool since Liana first talked about it on her blog. I remember seeing Pendleton wool in the fabric stores when I was a child/teenager. It was the pricier fabric that my Mother wouldn't buy for me. So of course it's on my list of things to own.

It took me a minute to orient myself in the booth because the shelves were filled with cuts instead of bolts. There were a lot of American Indian/Old West type prints but I passed these by because they don't work for my lifestyle. Though of course now I wished I'd bought just one.  Ah well, this is what I did buy...

A 2 yard cut of a turquoise/green/gray/offwhite wool plaid and two 1-yard pieces of a red/black buffalo plaid. Though the pieces were marked there was a 50% discount on the turquoise plaid and a 35% discount on the buffalo plaid. The turquoise will become a version of my TNT dress and the buffalo plaid a pencil skirt. I definitely knew what I wanted these pieces to be when I purchased them.

Marcy Tilton ~
I know that I've spoken of my love of Marcy Tilton's website before. She carries unusual pieces that speak to my creative soul. So after viewing the Butterick/McCall/Vogue Style Show (where I found a few patterns that I didn't already own and now need!) we headed here. I seriously could have purchased half of the fabric in the booth that's how awesome the pieces were that Marcy bought to Expo. 

Here's what came home with me...

These are the only truly spring fabrics I bought. They were so bright and colorful and reminded me of the Seattle spring I was experiencing! So 3 yards of the boldly printed watercolor midweight linen, 1.5 yards of the white stretch lace and 1.5 yards of the vegetable lightweight linen came home with me. Won't these pieces be awesome made into garments this spring/summer?

Vogue Fabrics ~
I've bought some amazing pieces from Vogue Fabrics at other sewing shows. It seems like they raid the warehouse and take the best stuff on the road! My Vogue purchases were basics...

Even though they've photographed black - the pieces are actually navy. 5 yards of a navy blue wool/rayon blend and 1.5 yards of a navy/white houndstooth cotton blend. These will be used to replace the navy suit pieces I've outgrown. So a skirt from the houndstooth and a jacket and dress from the navy blue. 

Pacific Fabrics ~
This is one of the local fabric stores for Seattle and even though my companions could shop there anytime, we still visited their booth. I have several black suits that I can no longer wear...*sigh* and even though I have quite a bit of black fabric in the collection...this piece called my name quite loudly. 

It has a boucle type hand and I believe it's a wool blend. I have a 4 yard piece and want to make a cardigan type jacket with a pencil skirt suit. If there is remaining yardage, I'd like an empire waist type dress using one of my stashed black printed silks for the top of the dress and this fabric for the bottom.

I bought nice pieces, however, most of the purchases were practical. I need to replace garments that no longer fit and that fact governed what I bought.

Trimmings, buttons and tools ~

5 yards of a 2" wide brown lace, 10 yards of a 1.5" white lace, 5 yards of a black/white houndstooth type ribbon, and a yard of a large daisy lace for little girl dresses (for the grandbabies) was purchased from Trims on Wheels.

The Rayon Bemberg Lining was found in the Dana Marie booth for $7.99 per yard with a 20% off discount. This was an unbelievable buy and I should have bought more than the three colors below but I blanked on what I had on hand in the sewing cave! So just 5 yard pieces of brown, black and ivory were purchased.

I also stopped at the Clover booth to look at tools. I don't know about anyone else but my Clover tools have become the ones I always turn to. I'm especially in love with the water erasable markers because they actually erase! So I bought two of them. At the Vintage Buttons booth they had bowls of German glass buttons. After picking through the choices, the smoke clear buttons pictured above came home with me.

Finally, I don't know about you but I love keeping the bags that my fabrics come in. Well at least the shopping bags from when I travel and buy fabric, that explains the picture below...

I'm sure some day my daughters are going to know that I was a little fabric crazy (hehehe!) because of the collection of shopping bags hidden away in a corner of the sewing cave!

The Vogue 7632 skirt is done and I'm trying to decide whether to make the jacket in the pattern or go with another one. I'm also going to do some work on my TNT dress pattern. I've got to get this pattern wearable again. To that end I found the original dress pattern pieces mixed in the folder so I'm going to make up a dress and see how it goes.

Those are my current sewing plans...

Tuesday, March 03, 2015


I ended up flying into Seattle last Friday, spending all day at Expo on Saturday, and sewing with Gaylen in her amazing sewing room all day Sunday.  Flew home early Monday and all I can say about the weekend is that it was AWESOME!

Truly I'm biased because attending The Expo at Puyallup was one of my sewing bucket list items and to actually get to go and spend quality time with some amazing meant a lot to me!  

First a picture of the crew...

Gaylen (Gmarie), Malora (birdandbicycles), 
Niema (Wearable Muslin) and Melizza (Pincushion Treats)

We rode up from Seattle to Puyallup with Gaylen driving.  We spent the entire day together ~ the entire day that was filled with alot of laughs.  We decided together what to see, when to eat, and where to go. You ladies were just awesome to spend the day with ~ seriously! You put up with me being mobbed, with me losing bags, meeting sewing celebrities, and ditching you to go talk and take some pictures with others ~ y'all were truly ride and die sewing chicks ~ and I truly appreciate each of you letting me join in the fun!

We took no classes...just walked the exhibit halls and shopped! Oh and I met a few people...

Patti Palmer and her daughter Melissa Watson in the Palmer/Pletsch booth

Dana Bontager from Dana Marie Patterns and me
(I have to admit I did a little fangirling with Dana!)

Kathy Marrone, Vogue Pattern Magazine Editor working in the 
The McCalls Pattern Company booth which was mobbed
every time I walked/stopped by!

A few sewing bloggers...

Me and my former Mood Sewing Network Sister
Amy of Sew Well

Me and Shams - who I haven't seen in person in about 3 years!

...bought a little fabric...

Yes the Pendleton Wool booth and the Marcy Tilton booths made me lose my mind and plop my credit card down for some amazing beauties.  Now these precious beauties are in the hands of Fedex (thank you Gaylen!) and as soon as they arrive I will share more about them. I know I said in my last post that I wouldn't be buying much fabric this year and I can honestly say that these will be some of my last purchases for awhile.  Not only did I get 8 amazing pieces but I got some bemberg lining and trimmings too because there was no way to go to Expo and not bring something home! Personally I think I showed great restraint since I wanted half of Marcy's booth!

That was Saturday.  Sunday I spent in Gaylen's sewing room helping her finish off a couple of projects and work on a new one.

First a few pictures of her amazing sewing room and a link to her post on her new fabric closet...

This the view that Gaylen has when she sits down to sew

Gaylen's cutting table and a view of the far end of the sewing room

The thing I loved the most about Gaylen's sewing room were the large windows and the sliding glass door in her walkout basement. The room was well organized, comfortable, and easy to sew in for two people. Hopefully, Gaylen will share her sewing room reorganization on her blog well as...the dress she's working on in the picture.

May I say yet again what an AWESOME weekend I had! It had the right combination of everything that makes my heart sing. I came back inspired and ready to sew. Now if my daughter would just have that last baby I can spend some quality time in my sewing cave! *LOL*

If you follow me on Instagram, I apologize in advance for the duplication of pictures...cause I documented each thing as it happened...although I think I included a few new pics here. Also, the photo quality is a little dicey because these pics were all taken on my iPad or iPhone - I left the Canon at home.

Like I said, I'm soooooo inspired now and most of the new fabric isn't even going on the shelves. I have plans for it and they will be showing up on the blog sooner rather than later! If you get the chance to attend Expo, I highly recommend that you go!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Journey This Year...

Last year really felt like I was just sewing through the motions ~ lazy sewing. I made a lot of basics and did some okay sewing but the imagination, exploration and general joy was missing from my sewing, in my opinion.  And let's face it, though I love that you guys follow along with my sewing dreams, my opinion is the one that counts most!

So since I need to construct another wardrobe *sigh* I want to add some of that joy and exploration back into my sewing and my closet.  While there will be basics - hey I need new closer fitting black, navy and gray suits - I will add some fun and funky pieces to go along with them.  

I also want to sew some complicated, unusual pieces that really are me. I wear more classic silhouettes for work but personally I look more like this, this or this. I feel like I need to stretch my sewing wings. 

Also, in years past, I've bought and shared alot of fabric here. I don't know if you've been paying attention but last year and fo sho this year there will be a lot less fabric being bought around here.  I really need to delve deeply into the fabric collection and play with some of the beauties shelved there.

Today, I opened the curtains to the main section of the fabric collection because I was looking for some black fabric...and it was awesome touching some of those gorgeous pieces. So I apologize up front that many of the items that get made this year will be from "stashed" fabric.

I want my sewing journey this year to be a combination of many different erase last year from your memories...because this year is going to be vastly different and I'm sooooooo excited about it!

A pic of my view...

Finally, I'm headed to The Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Pullayup this week.  I will be there for the weekend - Saturday and Sunday - so if anyone is around, I would love to meet up! I will be with my girl Gaylen (GMarie) so leave a message on the blog or at my email and I will try to meet up with you.

(photo credit:  Sewing & Stitchery Expo)

I'm not taking any classes but I'm so thrilled to be going that I don't know what to do!  Seriously, sewing bucket list adventures here!  This means there will be no posting here this weekend but I hope to do a recap when I return...or you can follow my adventures on Instagram.  I will be taking pictures of everything and everyone in sight and posting to Instagram. Did I say I was excited!  Seriously excited!!!!

Monday, February 23, 2015

OOP Vogue 7632 - The Vogue Woman Pattern Alterations

This pattern has been in my pattern collection for over a decade.  

I found an online link to a Palmer/Pletsch fashion forecast featuring the pattern dated 2004. I've had it so long because I've always wanted to make the suit. It's it just a classic and wonderful outfit!

As much as I love the two pieces together, I'm just making the skirt now. Even though I started with a pattern in the size 18, 20, 22 range, I did need to make a few alterations to the pattern pieces.

To begin the alteration process, I started with my TNT straight skirt pattern pieces. I know that I may be adding a little too much space to my garment but I'd rather start big and cut back then try to figure out how to add space. Please, please don't say anything because truly I'm still trying to adjust to seeing myself as smaller rather than larger. 

However, my daughter and I did recently retake my measurements and they are larger than the measurements printed on the pattern pieces so alterations needed to be made.

The Skirt Back 
These were the easiest alterations to make since the back of the skirt is just a seamed back.  Although I did make a change to the pattern design. The pattern calls for a side zipper but I'd rather have a back invisible zipper.  So the center back piece that should be cut on a fold has been given a 5/8" seam allowance plus an additional inch for width.

The side back piece was also given another 5/8" width on the side curve and both pieces were lengthened 2" at the lengthen/shorten lines.

The Skirt Front
Due to the inset pleats in the front of the skirt, I had to be careful where I added width to these pieces. So I added to the side curve on the front side piece only. Then I measured and measured again to make sure that I had enough space to cover my body. I also lengthened these pattern pieces the same 2" that I lengthened the back pieces ~ again at the lengthen/shorten lines. This allowed me to gain the length I needed without affecting the pleat inserts.

I also added six inches to the center front and center back of the waistband.

I will cut out the fashion fabric next - a floral brocade that I got from Fabric Mart last fall. I have more than enough fabric for the skirt in case I need to recut anything but I think I should be okay.

So this is what I'm working on now. Pictures of the finished skirt to follow!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Butterick 6142 - A Pleather and Wool Version

When the Butterick 6142 pattern was released, it reminded me of this top I'd pinned to one of my boards on Pinterest:

At the time I started working on the pants, I thought I would get both pieces finished prior to Christmas week, well that didn't happen!  As you can see since it's the middle of February! *LOL* When I finally cut the pattern pieces out I changed a few of my original ideas for this outfit. Some were design changes and some were added after the top was a little too tight.

  • I omitted the lace because the stash didn't yield up anything that wouldn't make the outfit look like eveningwear.
  • I changed the fabric from black ponte to a black poly/wool crepe suiting I purchased from Fabric Mart during one of the 50% off sales. Please note this probably added to some of my challenges since the pattern clearly states that you should use a knit fabric for the pieces.
  • Pleather accents were added also to the top and the pants.
  • A lining was also added to both the top and pants by underlining the fashion fabric.

Here's my finished garment:

Pattern Alterations  Design Changes:

The Shaped Hem Tunic ~
I made minimal changes to the pattern pieces. Again there is a little buggin' out going on here because I'm not use to NOT making huge changes to the pattern pieces. Here are the pattern alterations and design changes I made.

First - the back and front pattern pieces are single pieces.  Two large pieces that you lay on the fabric and cut out!  Of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone and I put a center back seam in the top's back.  

I marked the center back, cut it from top to bottom and added 5/8" seam allowances to both pieces. I decided to go this way because I wanted to add sleeves to the top. This top with sleeves was just not slipping over my head without some assistance.  I took it even further and added a 9" black invisible zipper to the neckline also.

Since I used a woven, I added a little to the center front of the top to gently glide over my abdomen and hips by simply slicing up to the waistline marking and spreading the pattern pieces.

If I make this pattern again, I'm going to cut the front apart and add space that way. If...I...ever...make...this...pattern...again! *LOL*

The Sleeve ~
The sleeve pattern from the dress was used for the top...although I still needed to make changes to the biceps...cause I haven't managed to lose any weight there! Again I started with an older sleeve pattern to make the alterations.  And that's when this started to go south and head there so quickly. *sigh* I put those dayum sleeves in three times...and removed them three times. I just couldn't get them in without a multitude of wrinkles down the length of the sleeve or way too much fabric in the sleeve cap. Then I just got disgusted and threw them in the garbage. My top is sleeveless...I couldn't take any more.

Then I tried the top on and was too tight. Peoples, annoyed was an understatement for how I felt at that point. But I put my thinking cap on and decided to add a pleather triangle on the other side of the top to match the one on the top front. BTW the pleather piece ended up on the front because I wasn't paying attention when sewing the front and back together. So I improvised ~ yet again. 

Miracles of miracles this last improvisation worked...except it made a funny wrinkle on the back. Now I really was done...seriously done...turned everything off and went upstairs and read a book.  Pick this up six weeks later, I've lost another five pounds, so I try on the top and mercy me, it fits. Well actually the triangle stuck out because the top was loose, so I altered where the fabric and pleather triangle met and fits.

I know I've talked about slow sewing lately and using the best techniques BUT I just wanted this done!  So I turned under all the edges at the neckline, the armholes and the hemline, topstitched, pressed and it was finished. Thank you God ~ it's no longer a wadder! 

The Pants ~
I originally made the pants out of a jersey ponte during the blogging hiatus. Based upon that make, I altered the pants pattern for a better fit. To make this version I went with the currently altered pattern because I wanted to see how they'd wear in a woven fabric. Well that was wrong!  Those suckers were so tight they wouldn't go over my thighs. So I decided that sewing for my new shape wasn't working and I put the pants to the side.

But once the top fit, I was inspired to figure out how to make the pants work. I decided to add a 3" pleather strip to the side of each pants leg and use 1/2" seam allowances to attach them to the pants. Since there are pleather accents on the top, I thought this would work well with the pants.  This meant taking the pants apart but I was fine with that, as long as the pants became wearable.

The strip did work so I added the elastic to the waistline (more on it's application in a future post), ripped the inner leg seams and made them a little smaller, then hemmed the pants. Outfit complete.

Conclusion ~
This is not a work outfit. I've been going out a lot more after work and I would definitely wear this out and about in NYC.  Also, both the top and pants are a closer fitting silhouette than I've been accustomed to wearing. Honestly, this is taking some getting use to but baggy garments lately have just made me look like I'm wearing someone else's clothes...not a good look!

Finally, I'm a huge fan of the mixed materials look in garments. I love mixing pleather with wools and pontes. I have a few ideas for a couple more garments using pleather - don't know if they will make it out of my sewing machine before spring comes - but as long as the trend continues I will be making more versions of it.


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