Thursday, May 29, 2014

Home from the hospital...

I am home now!   I was discharged from the hospital yesterday, 6 days after surgery.  I honestly had no idea of how painful this was going to be and recovery seems slow going, but I have to remind myself it has only been a week.  I had a mastectomy of my right breast (left mastectomy last year) and expanders were put in and filled before leaving the hospital.  Actually, I will need to return to the hospital in one-month's time to finish filling the left expander, which is about 40cc shy of being completely filled.  It would no longer stretch to receive the last injection amount.

I really didn't have any concept of how much 450 cc was (what my expanders will hold) until being inside my chest!  I feel like they are mini boulders--LOL  As I understand it, the expanders will stretch the area to receive the implants later.  The area gets stretched a little bigger than the size of the implant in order to give a natural look once everything is all finished.  I am not one for being able to repeat all the technical terms, so that is basically how I understand things to be.

I feel like my breathing is restricted for the moment and my back aches from slouching.  It is like suddenly having a chest over night and my body has to readjust posture!

My husband is amazing!  He has been Super Mr. Mom during this past week and continues to hold the fort down, get the kids off to school, work, and then come home to making dinner and caring for me. He is AMAZING.  It feels good to be home.  I was hoping I could jump right into some easy sewing, but I see now that will take a little more time until I can do that.

I am wishing I had made me some more button-up shirts prior to surgery.  I don't have many and right now, it is the easiest thing to wear.  So, I'm raiding my husband's closet.  Oh, I do have to wear this band around my chest to hold the expanders "down" so they won't rise up.  I have to wear this another week and a half.  The way I can best relate to how my chest feels are wearing your most uncomfortable underwire bra ever and it is 2 sizes too small and you have just stuffed yourself with the biggest meal ever.  I don't know about you, but after a full meal, it always made the bra uncomfortable! ha ha    Okay, time for the heating pad.......

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bohemian Blouse

Ottobre 5/2013 #3
Leo Bohemian Blouse
Size 36
Fabric:  Cotton

I am on a mission to make myself several blouses for this summer.  I am feeling a little anti-knit these days.  I enjoy sewing knits because they are quick and easy; however, I am trying to expand my wardrobe a little to incorporate many fabric types!  This particular fabric was given to me by my dear friend Vickie, so I do not know exactly what it is made up of other than a gorgeous, light-weight cotton.

I did not make any alterations to this top.  This was the first time I have made a placket on the front of a shirt like this.  Getting the piping to cooperate around it was somewhat challenging for me.  With the pattern piece, it actually has a shape that comes to 3 points at the bottom edge.  After I was done sewing the piping on, no points remained but a nice curve--oh well.  It doesn't matter to me because I love the results anyway!  I had some bias tape maxi piping on hand that I used (is this okay to use for apparel sewing?).  It was the perfect color match.  I tried to make my own piping, but I didn't have anything that looked as good.  

I used my narrow hem foot for the bottom hem.  I have had my machine for several years now and have not been using it!  It was so easy and the hem is narrow and evenly stitched.  I Googled a video tutorial on how to use it--simple!

The bottom of the sleeves have a placket and then are gathered before sewing the sleeve cuffs on.  I like having a cuff with a button--cute!

What a fabulous pattern!  I will definitely be making this one up again.

On a personal note....

I will have to take a short break from sewing starting next week.  I have my reconstruction surgery starting.  February 2013 I had a mastectomy of my left breast, and now I will be having my right breast removed.  I will also be having expanders put in to prepare for implants a few months down the road.  I don't know how or what the recovery process will be like.  I have been told by my surgeon that I will be in the hospital at least 4 days.  Hopefully once I am home, recovery will be quick and I can get back to sewing before any serious withdrawals set in!   

I am looking forward to being able to sew fitted tops and dresses again when all is finished (about in 6 month's time) AND being able to wear a bra without a prosthetic boob!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Button Up Shirt with Cargo Pocket Skirt

Ottobre Woman 2/2013
Buttondown Sleeveless Blouse #3
Size 36
Alteration:  Shortened top approximately 5"

This is a great summer blouse!  There are 7 pattern pieces in all and only took 1 yard of fabric for my size.  Love it when I can make something out of only a yard of fabric--talk about keeping the cost down!  Since I'm only 5'1, patterns do run a little on the long side for me, so taking 5" off the bottom made for a better fit.  In doing so, I was also able to eliminate the need for the 8th button.  I'm not certain what type of fabric this is, but it is a lovely, light weight quality cotton given to me by a wonderful friend of mine!  The instructions were easy to follow and this pattern sews up quickly.

I love the back yoke of this shirt.  You can easily use lace here.  I thought about it but didn't have the right color lace that would have matched the fabric.

When I am sewing my collar stand to the neckline, I skip the area where there is a curve and just sew the long straight area.  Then I put the collar stand pieces together and baste the two, starting just to the edge of the shirt.  I turn it right side out and make sure that the collar stand is of equal height on both sides of the shirt and then sew it with a regular stitch.  Basically the method of doing that edge of a the top first and then complete the edge last.

Any tips on how to get the button placement correct on the first try?  I always seem to struggle with this.  The bottom edge of my shirt is just slightly off.

Burda Style
Skirt #135
Size 34
Alteration:  Did not add hem allowance to skirt and removed 1/2" from length
Fabric:  Twill

I came across this skirt pattern when I was looking for something to make to match the above shirt!  Nothing technical to sew.  This skirt consists of 6 pattern pieces; however, the 3 facing pieces are incorporated into the skirt pieces which need to be traced separately.  There are instructions for the dimensions to cut out the cargo pockets and flaps.  This pattern does call for an invisible zipper on the left, joining the side seam to the back skirt.  Burda suggests a wool fabric for this pattern, so I figured a twill would work equally as well.  I wanted something with a casual look and feel.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Monday, May 5, 2014

Girl's Sleeveless Top with Lace Yoke

McCall's 6951
Pattern Sizes 7-8-10-12-14
Made in a size 8
Fabric:  Cotton Lawn Circles from

Alterations:  Sectioned back pattern piece to make a lace back yoke

My daughter and I have seen this same style shirt in the stores recently.  I am thrilled that McCall's has this pattern so I can duplicate the look!  I took the back pattern piece and sectioned it into 2 pieces in order to make a lace back yoke.  When I took the pattern out of the envelope, I used the factory fold crease to make my division of the pattern--that worked!  I traced the two pieces separately, adding a 5/8" seam allowance.

This pattern is great!  I love how the front pieces have a self facing where you fold the fabric over twice.  Instead of sewing along the edge with an invisible stitch after the first fold, I used stitch witchery, which is a fusible bonding web for hems and trims.  This was much quicker than stitching.  Also, this self facing gets top stitched later, so no need in stitching by hand initially, in my opinion.  Also, this did not interfere with the thickness when I stitched my buttonholes.

Isn't it lovely with the lace?  The arms are hemmed with bias tape.  I also used twill tape to reinforce the seams where the lace is joined, sewing right on the edge.  I then trimmed the seam allowance to the width of the tape, then top stitching the remaining edge of the twill tape down.

I made a grey camisole top for her to wear underneath.  I love seeing the little straps (made of FOE) peeking through the lace.

A while ago I purchased a package of white camisole tops for my girls and used that as a pattern to make my own.  I used a crinkle knit for this.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Burda Style 04/2014 #122

Burda Style 4/2014
Size 38
Fabric:  Blue Check Chambray from Denver Fabrics

Burda calls this "Loving Freedom."  I love this blouse! The pattern pieces all lined up perfectly.  I like how the pattern has numbers to match up to the seam placement.  All instructions were precise and easy to follow. The only tricky part is laying on some of the pieces on the bias.  I have done that with binding for quilts but not for apparel sewing.  I had to stop and think about how to do that (asking my husband for help!).

There is elastic in the sleeve hem and a small piece of elastic that is used to sew the waist ties to.  I added a button to the left front where the front yoke overlaps.

I'm so happy to have found this fabric.  I wanted as close a match as possible to the Burda photo.  I like how the check design changes with the pattern placement.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley