Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Sewing

Zippered Bags

I made these zippered bags to hold some Christmas gifts for my girls.  I was so inspired by Pam's at Threading My Way that I had to make some.  Pam has links on her website to tutorials on how to construct these.  The hardest part was finding the fabric I wanted to use.  I found some beautiful Waverly prints at Walmart, as well as a fat quarter for the Paris Print and lining.  One of my girls loves all things Paris related.

You would be amazed at how easy these bags are to make.  They are beautiful.

I also made hand warmers for teacher gifts!

I like how these turned out.  I bought some rice and cinnamon essential oil.  I poured the rice into a big pot, sprinkling with the oil, and stirred it up really well.  I sewed 4 x 4 flannel squares together, leaving enough room for a funnel to still fit to pour the rice in.  I used less than 1/2 Cup of rice per hand warmer.  I used pinking shears to trim the edges, attached twine, and used a cute little Stampin Up mitten design to embellish the punched cardstock.  My children were really excited to be able to hand these out to their teachers.  I made a total of 21, 7 per child.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Holiday Outfit for Me

Jalie Faux Wrap Top, 2910
Size T
ITY Knit

Butterick Skirt, 5566
View A
Size 12
Scuba Knit

Out of all the skirts I have made, I find this one to be a favorite.  The only alteration made was to remove 4 inches from the length, which is standard for me.

There are a lot of darts in this skirt!  In addition to those you see on the overlay, the front skirt piece has a total of 4 and the back piece has two on each side of the zipper.  One thing I like to do when making darts is to decrease my stitch length (to about 1.5 or less on my machine) just as I near the end of the tip of my dart.  This helps me to avoid any bubble or puckering there.  

I also used an invisible zipper.

You may notice that my overlay is also in the opposite direction as the pattern illustration.  I had only a remnant of this fabric and had to flip my pattern piece over to cut out the overlay, making it overlap in the opposite direction.  I was so happy that I had enough fabric to cut this skirt out!  It took me several minutes trying to figure out the placement where it would all fit.

I love the angle of the darts on the overlay!  The pattern has you sew the darts on the overlay on the right side of the fabric, but I didn't do this.  I sewed them like normal darts, which I like.  To me, sewn the other way would look like you did it backwards!  I like style and things unique and different, but I wasn't wanting something that different.

I hemmed the skirt by hand to try to eliminate any visible stitching.  You can still see the hem a little though due to fabric type I guess.  The suggested fabrics are lightweight garbardine, stretch wovens, lightweight broadcloth and lightweight denim.  My scuba knit may not have been the best choice of fabrics because my seams were a little bulky with the layering.  In fact, while I was trimming one of my seams, I was careless and sliced a half inch into my fabric.  I felt sick the moment I did that!  I really love how this turned out and everything was perfect up until then.  Fortunately it is hidden by my blouse.  I did a quick zig zag stitch to mend it.

Another great top by Jalie!  This is a faux wrap top.  There is optional stitching in the ditch where one front piece is over the top of the other so it is held securely.  I only did about an inch at the top.  I did try to stitch the whole seam down, but something just didn't lay right and I removed all the stitching.  An inch worth is sufficient in holding the top together for me.

For the bottom hem, I put my top on my dress form so I could get the double layer of the front turned up together.  Trying to do this as it was lying flat on the table was difficult.

I should have done a swayback adjustment, but it's not too bad on this pattern.  Truth be told, I was tracing and cutting out this pattern while watching an episode of Enterprise and forgot to make any pattern adjustments!  I was just zipping through it and had the fabric cut out before I even thought about it.  You would think pattern alterations would be second nature by now.

I have had such a busy week with trying to sew in between other things.  I also just celebrated my 48th birthday!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Dress

Bustle Style Lolita Dress

Last Thursday my daughter asked me if I would make her a Christmas dress that she could wear to school.  I told her I could look through my patterns to see what I had.  She said, "I know what I want!  I found a DIY dress on Youtube that you can make!"

Here is the link if you are interested.  What a talented young woman who created this!

The video is sped up, but my son showed me a way to change the speed.  Did you know you can do that?  I didn't.  I took my daughter's bust measurement to determine the width of the top bodice piece.  However, I kept the same measurement for the inner top circle of the skirt piece as indicated in the video.  I cut the length of the skirt piece to 20", which worked well for my 12-year-old.

The bustle piece is separate and attached to the top of the skirt.  No buttons, no zipper, no elastic.  This is very easy to make, especially if you are new to sewing.

I purchased the Christmas fabric at Hancock's which was on sale!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Athletic Wear

Jalie 2682
Size P

Jalie 3462 (Cora)
Size O

I love this outfit!  I think the 2 patterns together make an awesome combination.  Having made this twice before, definitely 3rd time was a charm for me.  Previously I used swimwear in addition to dri-fit.  This time I purchased some 4-way stretch active wear from Fashion Fabrics Club.  I like this so much better.  Even though swimwear fabric worked for me, it definitely doesn't stretch as much as this fabric.  In the future I'll just keep the swimwear fabric for, well, swimwear!

So far I think this is my favorite Jalie top pattern  (I have some new ones I have yet to sew up though).  You can make a version of this top without the zipper (V-neck) should you choose.  This time I cut a thin strip of interfacing to stabilize my fabric before sewing the zipper on.

The fabric design of the print dulls a little when stretched as seen here at the calf area.

Next I'll be focusing on Christmas sewing.  I'll be making some red plaid flannel hand warmers to give out as teacher gifts.  I'm also anxious to spend some time making zippered pouches!  I purchased some beautiful Waverly prints last weekend that I plan on using.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Animal Print Dress

Simplicity 1018
Size 12
Alterations:  Forward sloping shoulder
1/2" swayback adjustment
Removed 4 inches from length of skirt
Fabric:  ITY knit from Fashion Fabrics

I was so excited about this dress because all my adjustments worked perfectly.  It felt good on and I liked what I saw in the mirror.  Pictures tell a different story.  I'm not as pleased.  I love the dress, but I think that maybe animal print isn't for me.  I should have taken note of the pattern envelope...all solids for the dresses!  Sigh.

Maybe it's my shoe selection or lack there of.

A belt would help or maybe a solid color sweater to break up this print.

The fit is good though.  Overall, a very simple dress to sew.  I love the princess seams, which you can't see because of my print.  This is a fast dress to make and sewn mostly with my serger.

I did use the same fabric for my neckband.  It seemed a little floppy to me so I folded it forward, covering the neckline seam, and top stitched it down.  It looks better.

I will definitely make this again in a different fabric; I'm sure I will like it a lot better.  I am going to take a break from making dresses and save that for summer-type clothing when I can wear sandals and not have to think so much about matching shoes.

I thought about just photographing this barefooted, but it's too cold outside and I get too many shadows inside my house.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Jalie Jamies

Jalie 3244
Size O
No alterations

My daughter has been asking for some footed pajamas this winter.  I immediately thought of Jalie 3244.  After looking at the number of pattern pieces and corresponding illustrations and instructions, I thought this might be a challenging project.  I didn't exactly want to jump into this, thinking that it would take me a long time to make.  I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly this came together!  It does take a while to trace and cut out though.  I mostly used my serger.  Since the fleece is thick, I basted each seam about an inch with my sewing machine to make sure that my fabrics fed through my serger evenly.

The zipper was very easy to put in.  You don't even need a zipper foot.  I didn't use mine since you first baste the zipper to the opening fabric edge with a zig zag stitch.  Once again Jalie instructions do not disappoint and the finished zipper was flawless.

There are pockets in the side seam too!  My daughter was really excited when she noticed them.

I used a dark purple rib knit for the neck and sleeve cuffs.  You can also make ankle cuffs too if you prefer to not have your feet enclosed.

If your foot size is larger than the rest of the pattern size, Jalie explains how to sew a larger foot to the smaller pattern pieces.  

It's a shame none of my other children want this since Jalie comes in such a huge range of sizes.  Hopefully my daughter will continue to enjoy this pattern for a few years.  She is very excited at the thoughts of being able to wear this to school for the next pajama day.  

Here are a couple of pictures showing the neckband closer.  

I just turned the collar under on the inside and zig zag stitched it down.  Jalie does suggest either serger or handstitching.  I much prefer to sew by machine instead of by hand whenever possible.

Fabric purchased at Hancock Fabrics.  Purple rib knit from my stash.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Ottobre 5/2103-4, Friday Evening Dress

Ottobre 5/2103-4, Friday Evening Dress
Size 38
Alterations:  1/2" Swayback adjustment
Removed 5 inches from the length
Fabric:  Ponte de Roma Knit, black cotton spandex knit for neckband

I bought this fabric last winter or maybe even the year before that!  I liked it when I saw it but then struggled with what to make of it.  I knew it had to be a simple pattern due to the busy design of the fabric.  I didn't want a seamed back which would mess with the flow of the print.

This was the perfect pattern choice since both the front and back are cut on the fold.  The raglan sleeve does have a dart at the top, but it worked well and didn't disrupt the fabric design.  I took my time laying out the fabric to ensure the design matched up perfectly on the sides and with the sleeves.  A ponte knit is pretty stable and doesn't stretch out of shape much at all.  I was able to see the black lines from the wrong side of the fabric, making it simple to keep the fabric perfectly lined up when folded over.  

It's chilly out, but lack of shoes left me with slip on sandals.  My beloved black zip up boots didn't really match.  I struggle with shoes.  I love boots and sandals and have nothing in between.  That's why if you look back through my blog, I tend to make black or brown clothing for winter so all can be worn with either my black or brown boots. LOL

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Kwik Sew 3605 Girls Swimsuit

Kwik Sew 3605
Size Large

My daughter grew out of her Jalie swimsuit.  I have to say, sewing a swimsuit up during winter time was not on my radar and I lacked motivation to do it!  But, duty calls and this is one of the reasons I sew.  It's great to whip up something when you need it today, especially if you don't want to have to buy it, or like now, not in the stores since it's cold outside.  

It's a new pattern and I was concerned about fit.   I do wish I had taken a little more time with ensuring even stitching.  Have you had that happen?  You sew with perfection and it has issues or doesn't fit altogether.  You whip it up and it fits beautifully.  I won't complain though.  My daughter loves it! 

I decided to baste clear elastic to the edges of the cups, sandwiching it between the fabric and lining.  I didn't want any sagging here when wet.  It may not have, but I didn't want to take the chance of having to remake it if it did.  I had 1/2" elastic, so I cut it in half to 1/4".  I should have changed my thread color on the band since it is predominately blue.  That would have taken a minute....lazy, lazy of me not to.

I recommend trying this on your daughter before attaching the swimsuit fastener.  I did have to cut off a good inch of the band.  As a result it is not centered on the back, but that's okay.  

As you can see below, the inside of the band doesn't have an enclosed finish.  The band is single layer, sewing elastic at the top and the bottom edge, folding it in on itself and stitching down. My daughter is very sensitive to how things "feel," and she has no issues with it.  

If I make this again, I will line the swim shorts--my only dislike.  The fabric is thick enough, so it isn't an issue.  Overall, it is a great pattern and simple to make if you are new to making swimsuits.

Fabric purchased from Spandex World--watercolor print on clearance for $6 yard.
Swimsuit lining from stash

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Friday, November 13, 2015

Jalie Cocoon Cardigan with Dolman Top

Jalie 3353 & 3352
Size P

I made this top and cardigan from fabric remnants in my stash!  I'm trying to utilize what I have as much as possible for staple items for our wardrobe.  I should have made this in a size "O."  It's a little big in the neck for the Dolman and the cardigan just looks oversized for her, but that's okay.  A camisole underneath the Dolman to the rescue, and cardigans can be too big and still worn.

This cardigan is really simple and quick to sew together.  The band takes the majority of the time to pin all the way around.    I like how it finishes every edge of the cardigan from neck, sides, and continuous loop.  The sleeve has cuffs sewn in the same manner.  I basted it before using my serger to ensure that I caught all 3 layers of fabric.  No hemming!!

I used a soft sweater knit.  It is very light weight too.  I was going to make this cardigan for myself, but I just didn't have quite enough  fabric.  I put it away a couple of weeks ago until yesterday when I had a light bulb moment and realized that it would probably be enough for my daughter.  It was still a tight squeeze, but it was enough!

My daughter was out in the yard doing cartwheels, so it passed the flexible/comfortable test.

It's a great top to wear with jeans.  My last post featured my Dolman top.  I see many of these tops in our future!

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Two Tops for Me

 McCall's 7247
Size 12
Alterations:  1/2" swayback adjustment
Shortened neckband pattern piece by 1/2"
Forward shoulder adjustment

I decided I was in need of some basic tops.  At home, I pretty much just wear worn out t-shirts that have seen better days.  I needed some nice tops to wear out and about.  I picked up this McCall's pattern a couple of weeks ago.  It's basic but a nice design feature with the front consisting of 2 pieces that overlap.  I'm pretty short and didn't have to lengthen it any.  If you have a long torso and not up for flashing your tummy, you might want to lengthen it.  It's perfect for me with just a peak of my lower belt showing.

Construction is simple and fast.  I decided I wanted the neckband a little narrower, so I flipped it forward over onto itself and sewed it down.  I've done this before, especially if I have a somewhat loose neck binding.  Somehow this just helps tighten it.  I zig zagged it in place with a very narrow stitch.  It blends into the fabric and is barely noticeable.

The pattern calls for moderate stretch knits only.  My fabric is a stretch rayon jersey, but it just didn't feel as stretchy as the rayon I used in my second top.  So, I went up 1 size larger just in case I needed a little more room.  I would have been fine with my size 10.  Oh well.  I was thinking "moderate" meant more, but I looked up the word definition and it means "average amount."  There I go, over thinking things....sigh.

Cotton Knit purchased from

Jalie 3352 Dolman Top
Size T
No Alterations

Why don't I have more of these??  This is such a quick and easy trace, cut and sew!  It is lovely in a rayon jersey.  I used the neck binding pattern piece as a guide to cut one from the same fabric as the shirt, but 2" wide.  I used this tutorial on Megan Nielsen's blog for sewing my neckband.  I really like this technic; it is such a nice, clean finish.

I didn't do a swayback since I'm using a rayon jersey.  I thought it would be okay.  Looks good I think.

It was so windy outside!  My hair was all over the place.  One picture my daughter said she needed to take another one because the wind "parted" my hair in the back and it didn't look good.  Ha ha.  Love my little photographer's attention to detail.  She is always straightening my clothing or picking threads off.

Rayon jersey knit purchased from Joann's Fabrics

Both tops worn with my Angel Boot Cut Jeans.

And another Jalie outfit for one of my girls.  These 2 patterns make such a nice combination!  My daughter said this outfit is "so comfortable!"

Jalie 2682, size O
Jalie 3022, size N

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley