Thursday, February 26, 2015

Quilted Lattice Ascot

Last night at my monthly knitting group, I was able to finish up my Quilted Lattice Ascot by designer Pam Powers. I knit this using Jasper yarn from Berroco, which I have plenty of in my stash. The three buttons came from my button collection. 
This pattern calls for two strips of snap tape to be sewn under the lattice square for closure, but I found it easier just to sew the scarf closed, and just pull it on over my head. The buttons are sewn down, and while they function to close the top of the scarf, I find they are more ornamental. And that is what I like about Pam Power's designs: her use of buttons and other closures make it feel like you are wearing jewelry! 

Quick pic to show the neck-hugging style of the looks and feels great under my down coat: a necessity this winter in Michigan of day after day of subzero temperatures.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Kwik Sew 4083

The clothes I sew for myself are often made to wear to work, and I've noticed that my more casual wardrobe has needed some updating. Wearing tunics/longer tops with leggings is so comfortable, but I don't have too many choices in my closet. Enter Kwik Sew 4083

K4083, Misses' Tops

Line Art

I pulled a double sided brushed cotton plaid from my stash (?JoAnn's red tag table?)  to use for a test garment, as I haven't sewn many Kwik Sew patterns. It has the large plaid on one side, and a small check on the other:
(pinning stage)

 Looking at the measurements, I cut a size XL....way too big. I like the fabric, but I'm not sure using it for this top does my figure any favors...even after taking it in, and taking it in some more, I did wear it over the weekend. I still have plans to take out some of the extra at the front princess seams, and that will make it wearable weekend wear. I think I erred on the side of caution as I have been sewing mostly with knits, and was worried about ending up with a top that was too small. 
(impossible to match the plaids with the peplum cut on the bias)

Alterations made with this top: added 1 inch to length at dropped waist/peplum,  raised shoulder seam,  reduced armsyce, took in @1" at front princess seams. 

I have plans to revisit this pattern, using a stable knit like ponte, thanks to Lori's inspiration:


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

McCalls 6996

My first finish in 2015 was McCall's 6996, a longer, drapey cardigan made with a thin ribbed sweater knit that has a subdued "sparkle" to it. 

I went right to the serger for construction, as this is a very forgiving knit and I didn't anticipate any fit issues. Speaking of construction, a few things of note: I serged in a light weight woven fusible strip at the shoulder seams to support the seams. I also decided to finish the raw edges with the serger, after spraying the edges with spray starch and pressing. That seemed to stabilize the edge a bit before serging. I didn't want to weigh down the drape with a hem of any kind, and that has seemed to work, tho I may go back and add a small turned-in & stitched hem at the sleeve edge. 

I find I like wearing the skinnier pant silhouette, along with leggings on occasion, but only with a top that has a longer length and plenty of drape for balance. 
McCalls 6996 is a quick and easy pattern with great results for the beginning sewist as well as for the more experienced. And as both of my daughters have asked for one for themselves, I believe this is a design for both the young and young-at-heart!
Happy 2015!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2014 NICU Baby Hat Challenge

This year I made it a priority to participate in Sunset Family Living's  2014 NICU Challenge 
Hopefully, 15 wee ones born at NorthShore Health Systems in Evanston, IL will have have warm little noggins this year! 
Thanks to my knit & crochet buddy, Edyee, who also accepted the Challenge made her own stack of little baby hats, and to my dear daughter Kristen. As an RN in Labor & Delivery at NorthShore, She works very hard to see that the babies and their families have the most positive birth experiences possible.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rehearsal dresses: New Look 6209 and McCall's 6069

It's hard to believe, but our daughter's wedding on November 15, 2014 has come and gone! What a beautiful weekend with family and friends. We are so lucky to add a son to our family, and to combine the two families too!
Knowing that sewing the wedding dress for the big day was too big of a challenge for me, I offered to make the bride's dress for the rehearsal/dinner. She described to me what design details she was looking for, and we agreed that New Look 6209 was a great match! We made a trip to Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL.and the perfect fabric was found.
Since I live in Michigan and my daughter lives in Chicago, making a muslin to dial in the fit for this special occasion dress was a must. What fun to fit the muslin, and then take out the basting and use the muslin as pattern pieces! Previously, I have transferred the adjustments to the paper pattern, but this eliminates that step. Speaking of adjustments.....can I say how much I love dresses with princess seams?! Although this dress almost fit perfectly out of the envelope, and I only had to adjust the shoulder and take in the seams at the waist by 1/4" or so.

This pattern is not designed with a lining, but it wasn't any trouble to make one. I had to put my thinking cap on for a minute, though, to address the peek-a-boo cut-out in the bodice front. Hand stitching the lining to the zipper, and also the sleeves into the armcyces and sleeve hems made the inside almost as pretty as the outside!

The flat lighting in the hotel room doesn't do this fabric justice. The picture below (with the Maid of Honor and our other engaged daughter!) shows the brocade surface better. I was so pleased that she liked her dress, and her smile says it all!

By planning ahead and finishing my daughter's dress with time to spare, I decided to squeeze out a dress for myself: the MOB (Mother of the Bride!).
I needed a quick and easy pattern, and so I pulled  McCall's 6069 out of my pattern file.
I absolutely love this graphic ITY jersey, but I have no notes on when or where I purchased it. 

I liked the deep drape of the cowl at the back, but I did have to raise the drape a bit. I added an FBA, but I think it was unnecessary. I also added 1 inch to the bodice length, and 3 inches to the hem.
With tights and boots, this is a great party dress, and with a cardi a nice dress for work, too!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I want Diane Lockhart's wardrobe!

If you have had an occasion to catch an episode of The Good Wife on CBS, then you have seen the to-die-for wardrobe of my favorite character: Diane Lockhart played by the wonderful actress Christine Baranski. 
Each week when I get a chance to sit down and catch up with the show, I ooh and aah over Diane's clothes. This week I decided to grab some screen shots for my own inspiration, and thought: why not share them here?

Below you see Diane in a simple checked pencil skirt. What caught my eye at first was the unexpected belt at her waist...and then, that blouse! The fabric looks luscious, and the collar has a very feminine feel with a nod to the masculine shirt and tie:


Both Vogue and HotPatterns have an option that would be perfect to interpret this lovely blouse:

Fast-forward to the next scene, and we get a chance to see the complete outfit.
The skirt has a matching full-length coat! I see this a lot in vintage patterns, a style 
out of the 60's, but looks so current and polished on Ms. Lockhart:

Vogue 8841: not quite the same collar or fit, but could be a jumping off point:

Later in the same episode, Diane is wearing a sheath dress with a cardigan 
sweater....perfect office wear.

What is special is the ombre effect in the print fabric (must be silk, I'm sure!).
This reminds me so much of a dress that my daughter purchased on our trip to Paris last year:

New Look 6261: the fitting darts are crucial in a sheath, and the darts in this New
Look pattern wouldn't disrupt the ombre effect:

A big Thank You goes out to costume designer Daniel Lawson for bringing such stylish and sophisticated looks to our TVs every week.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Simplicity 2648 goes to a Wedding Shower!

My daughter (& her fiance!) was the guest of honor last weekend at a wedding shower hosted by the Groom-to-Be's family in Chicago. Of course I wanted to sew a new dress!
Color-blocking has been so popular on the fashion scene for awhile now, and I really wanted to give it a try. I used Simplicity 2648:

 which I made last year:

This time, I used a Fabric Mart black ponte, along with a cobalt blue/black plaid print also from Fabric Mart but no longer listed on their website. Since the alterations were already done, I was able to cut, pin fit to be safe, and then go right to the serger. I did make a design change, when I pinned together both the front and the center back pattern pieces at the waist seam to make one pattern piece. That way I didn't have to worry about matching the plaid.
This was one of those dream projects, where everything went as planned. So much more fun for me to sew a great fitting dress, rather than spend time shopping the mall!
My only question concerns the length.....should I have shortened the hem a little more?

Here is one of my favorite photos with the Bride-to-Be and her sister/BFF, the Maid of Honor:

Even though The Big Day is fast approaching, I'll still be spending some time sewing.

Can't wait!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

McCall's 6966 - Maxi Skirt

I took advantage of one of those one-day sales at Mood and purchased a lovely bright green Ikat jersey knit, which I knew would be perfect for McCall"s 6966:

Line Art

I sewed up View C, which is the black print on the pattern envelope, but without the ruched waistband. And the waistband? So clever! I've been sewing many years now, but I've never applied an elastic waistband in this way, and I must say I plan to use this technique again! The elastic encased in the wider band keeps it unseen, yet gives the support necessary.


This skirt is so flowey, which I tried to show in the less-than-flattering picture below:



                              Summer is officially over, but here in the Midwest it is still warm and sunny.
                              I plan to continue to wear my new skirt into the fall/winter, with boots and a
                              belted cardigan perhaps. And I plan to make the shorter version in the future.