Friday, July 21, 2023

July - TSW Instagram Challenge Sewing

 My July sewing was motivated by the  The Sewing Workshop Instagram challenge! #tswxmunuochallenge

 We were to take inspiration from the  colors and patterns in the works of artist Naomi Munuo, and using TSW  patterns, sew a garment (or a whole outfit) and post it on Instagram with our inspiration story.

I chose the painting The Fashion Project.  

I was attracted by the garment sewing related subject and the red and yellow print fabric. 

I get a visceral uplift  just  looking at red and yellow prints. It probably goes back to the emotions attached to a favorite childhood top sewn by my mother in a similar print.  And a red and yellow print quilt I made years ago. That I love so much I want to be wrapped in it in my casket.

Mood Board

My yellow and red fabric was a  cotton/lycra knit print from Nick of Time Fabric,  I loved the name printed in the selvedge of the fabric.  "Tijuana Tattoo”  It made me imagine a scenario of getting a bad tattoo in a Mexican town after a bit too much tequila.  To get back on track... The pattern for the T shirt is the E  Tee. The neckline is  trimmed in a red and white striped knit (stash).   

Tijuana Tattoo print

 I used the  Helix pant pattern. This pattern is designed for knits. So in addition to my normal fitting adjustments (low flat butt, add length, etc.)  I had to make some changes for the woven fabric. I added additional ease (circumference) in many areas and  an invisible zip in the center back seam.  As a decorative detail I added transparent silk organza  fabric strips (a nod to the transparent pattern pieces laying on the fabric in the painting) in  a center front seam of one pant leg.  The effect of the transparent fabric strips with their darker hemmed edges,  laid over adjacent strips, creates interesting stripes. 

Strips before sewing

The idea came from the Japanese sewing magazine ミセスのスタイルブッMrs Stylebook, Issue #197 2019. I have wanted to try this idea for a long time. I was reminded of it, while planning for the challenge, by the piles of silk organza in the sewing room, supplies for a class in Bojagi ( Korean Patchwork) I was taking on  Domestika 

Idea for pant inset stripes

E Tee and Helix Pant

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Free Pattern Makes

 When I am having trouble deciding what to sew next, online sewing contests and challenges  can provide inspiration. It is usually the  item to be sewn and the completion date that attracts me.  Prizes, which are typically patterns and fabric, are not motivators as I have more patterns and fabrics than I will ever use in my lifetime.  

In March, it was the Instagram  #SewFrugal23 Challenge. The  objective was to sew something using a free pattern  and  fabric from your stash.  I spent many  hours scouring the internet for free PDF patterns.  I have a Google Translate extension on my internet browser that automatically translates foreign language sites to English.   I found some  Russian, Japanese, Brazilian (Portuguese) and German sites (that were almost like pattern databases) with many free patterns. The vast majority of free patterns are for  basic t shirts, tanks, gathered skirts and  baggy pants.  While I understand the appeal of these garment to beginning sewists,  I look for a  garment pattern that is  interesting or different.  

Here are the patterns I made in March.

The Patchwork Pullover   from the Bernette website.   It is a raglan sleeve top with a front yoke area that can be used for patchwork.  I made the top in a black wool knit and the patchwork in silk jacquard tie remnants that I bought as a bundle many years ago.  I love the fit of the top in the shoulder and sleeve area.  The instructions are brief. Do pay attention to the cutting and assembly of the patchwork area. All the pieces are different shapes. Not the standard right triangles as I originally  assumed.

Bernette Patchwork Pullover

Bernette Patchwork Pullover

Next item was the Carmen Blouse Amber  a free E Book (PDF pattern) from Scnittmuster Berlin    It is a  raglan style blouse with a gathered neckline that can be worn off the shoulder.  I compared my sloper to the pattern and added 1 “ to the top of the sleeves and neckline so it rode higher on my shoulders, I can pull it off my shoulders and wear it that way too.  The fabric I used  a pale green eyelet fabric from the ASG giveaway table.  I thought the finished blouse was a bit boring, so I hand sewed  flower shaped sequins and beads around the neck to give it some sparkle.  

Schnittmuster-Berlin Carmen Blouse

Carmen Blouse Amber

Garment 3 was the    frau-maerz-dress-sewing-pattern/ from Hemmers Itex, a German fabric manufacturer.  The dress pattern is modeled by and features fabric designed by,  Andrea Maerz, a well known content creator in the German-speaking world for sewing, DIY and fashion.  I follow her on Instagram.  She is near in age, though a bit younger, than me. I love her style and she makes many garments using Burda patterns. 

Frau Maerz Dress

While I like the neckline and front packet of the dress, it was too voluminous for me and my figure.  I will straighten the side seams and cut it shorter to make a tunic.  The fabric is a silk print from Fabric Mart Fabrics from the stash.
Frau Maerz Dress

Garment 4 is a denim jacket from German designer Mathias Ackerman. Is is a free download associated with  the 3/2020 issue of  Bernina Inspirations Magazine Mathias Ackermann Denim Jacket   There are no sewing instructions available either online or in the magazine.  Based on comments on the German  Bernina website,  the pattern was offered in preparation for jacket sewing class with Ackerman  at the Bernina  Creative Center, but the class was canceled because of Covid.    It has exaggerated pocket flaps,  a oval yoke  and large fold back cuffs on the sleeves.  I made it in a soft 7 oz. garment weight denim  from JoAnn Fabrics. Finding buttons for this jacket took a while and is why this post is in May. 

Matthias Ackerman Denim Jacket
Mathias Ackerman Denim Jacket

Ackerman Denim Jacket  smelling the jasmine

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Shirt Jacket Duo

 Earlier in the year I sewed  two versions of Burda  12 2020 117. The Burda description is "The casual lumberjack top in a new look, a classical  glen plaid pattern in black and white instead of bold checks Sophisticated: the yoke with drop shoulders."

I am not quite sure how check  wool shirts came to be associated with lumberjacks because if you look at old historical photos,  there is not a plaid or check in sight.  But what this style did remind me of was the  plaid wool shirts my dad wore in the cooler months on the weekend. 

 We called them ‘Pendleton shirts’ after one of the brands that manufactured them.

 A sure to please Christmas gift for Dad was always a new Pendleton shirt. I collected some beautiful wool plaids to sew him a Pendleton shirt. He passed in 2015. I still think of him when I come across those unsewn wool plaids in my stash.

Back to sewing.  I liked the idea of a simple shirt like jacket  as an alternative to a sweater or a blazer as a third layer.  This style had a lot of  wearing ease - 6",  but a bit of shaping with bust darts.  The first one was sewn from a thickish wool from the Give Away table at retreat.  It was coarsely woven, but a wonderful rich blue/green interspersed with gold-colored threads .  It is lined in silk print of teddy bears, also a find on the Give Away table. 

The fabric was so thick, the thought of making buttonholes scared me. So I chose  Anorak snaps for the closures.  The design used a faced to the edge section for the cuff opening, rather than a slit.  A design feature I have noted in my  "dealing with thick fabrics " tips and tricks.

Cuff  opening

 Another technique for heavy fabrics with sleeve cuffs  is a slit  faced  with the lining, similar to this one on a heavy wool Pendleton jacket I own.

  There is a  good YouTube video on   4 ways to Sew Slits

Burda 12 2020 117

The second version of this jacket was made from, what I think, was a silk suiting from the deep stash.  Final thoughts on this version is the fabric was too lightweight, and the plaid too light colored for the look I was going for. No problem, I have lots of black and white wools in my stash.

Burda 12 2020 117

Sunday, January 1, 2023

End of 2022 Catchup

 The last half of 2022 was very busy for me. I  am doing a quick end of year catchup so that the blog is up to date for the annual export process. 

 Sewing for Others

DS #1  is in law school in a very hot climate.  He likes to wear fitted shirts untucked ( see Untuckit for the look),  but has trouble finding them in the tall sizes he needs.   I sewed him a couple of shirts, adding several inches in length to the torso and sleeves. One long sleeve shirt from Vogue 8759 in a slate blue cotton.  This is a nice pattern, I  love the 2 piece sleeves which eliminates the need for a sleeve placket.

Vogue 8759

And two short sleeve print shirts from Burda 6814. The fabrics were prints. Lobsters on a black background and cross stitch fisses in blues. They were light weight, high thread count Lori Richards cotton fabrics  purchased at the Fabric Place Basement.

BUrda 6814

Continuing Education  

  • Common Armhole Fitting Issues and Developing Magic 2-Piece Sleeve Classes with Sarah Veblen on Pattern Review. Sarah has many years of fitting experiance and explains concepts clearly with examples. 

  • Skirt Skills  (prerequisite) and Smarty Pants online classes from  BrooksAnn Camper. Brooks Ann is an independent designer and couture dressmaker of bridal wear that I discovered while googling "sewing a Mother of the Groom dress". Her classes teaches you to create custom pants and skirts by "mapping" your own body.  No standard formulas or drafting methods. It is a unique approach. The class videos are clear and concise. She is availble for questions and assistance,  The work required for the class does take time, but it is well worth the effort.    

The major sewing project was my Mother of the Groom dress.  I spent so much time collecting pattern/fabrics for potential dresses, and  sewing three  muslins of different patterns that were ultimately rejected.  In the end I went with a top and skirt using  Butterick 3843, a 2003 pattern for special occasion separates. 

Separates are easier to fit on my body. I wear a lot of them in real life.  And  my "dress"  had to be up for the energetic mother/son dance we had planned. Fabric used for the top was  a beautiful poly/cotton butterfly burnout in Kentucky blue  from JoAnn's.

The  burnout butterfly fabric was underlined with the same fabric used for the skirt,  a blue grey crepe georgette polyester from Fashion Fabrics The lining  for both the top and skirt was dusty blue bemberg rayon from The Sewing Place.   It was amazing that three different fabrics from three different vendors coordinated so well. I took it as a sign from the sewing gods.  I accented the neckline of the top with blue crystal beads to add a bit of sparkle, and hold the lining in place at the neckline.

Here is a video of the dress in action at the wedding. Warning, it is my first effort using a video editor to trim  and splice segments of the official wedding video. 

I was a bit stressed  before the wedding, but it ended up being a beautiful, joyous occasion. And I now have two wonderful daughter in laws ( DS#1 got married in June).

Monday, June 27, 2022

Blinded by the White

My spring sewing plans included a dress for the bridal shower of Son #2’s bride to be, that I hosted it in May. Getting the house ready for the event meant clearing out my sewing room, aka... the dining room. The cleanout was achieved just in time, but as you could have predicted... no new dress.  I shopped my closet and wore the Seersucker Sundress I sewed last year for an Instagram Challenge. It proved to be perfect. So cliche, wearing seersucker on a southern summer day.  But it was comfortable and cool on a very busy, unseasonably hot day.

 The day after the shower, Son #1 and his fiancé showed up at breakfast wearing wedding rings. Surprise! They had tied the knot a week earlier is a small, but beautiful ceremony with a Justice of the Peace and a few friends. I was so happy for them. Their lives are busy. They wanted to get married without having to plan parties and spend a lot of money. I understand. My husband and I had the same type of ceremony 43 years ago, for the same reasons, and never regretted it. And to be quite honest, the planning and festivities leading up to son #2's wedding are stressing me out right now. 

 I reassembled my sewing room quickly and was able to sew several tops for our early June sailing cruise down the Amalfi coast of Italy. Italy and the cruise were wonderful. The flights, both coming and going, were delayed or canceled or both. Luggage was delayed (mine) or lost (hubby, sister, and BIL). My luggage caught up with me so late in the trip, I had no time to wear or photograph my sews in Italy. Thanks to the airlines and our travel insurance, both my sister and I purchased and wore  small wardrobes of  Italian linen clothing. Sis was not happy wearing linen. She is a big fan of knit garments. But knits were hard to find and sizes were problematic. She had great luck finding cute Italian shoes. I,  having big lady feet, was pointed in the direction of the men's shoes when I asked for my european shoe size. Sigh, travel is always an adventure.

 Here is what I sewed,  and would have worn with my white jeans and shorts on my trip.

 Blue stripe, oversize cotton shirt made from a Mrs Stylebook drafted pattern. I had sewn this shirt before and really liked the slightly oversize fit and long shirttails. I added full length sleeves with cuffs for this version. It was to be worn as a light jacket, a bathing suit coverup or tied at the waist for casual look.

 A crossover T shirt  in a cotton/lycra knit print from Nick of Time Textiles  using  Burda pattern 6764, view A.  This was a surprising quick sew as the front neckline edge and sleeve hems are finished while flat. I used my covertitch machine.  The only dislike I have with a crossover style like this is the double fabric layer across the tummy area, which is my widest, puffiest part. 

Burda 6764


A  V neck T shirt in another cotton/lycra print knit.   Burda magazine  2 2005 T shirt 114 with short sleeves from dress 133.   Another quick to make top.

Burda  2 2005 114

 And finally a lace tunic with bias trim from Burda magazine June 1997.  This one has been an unfinished project since the original trip was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid. The lace is cotton and the bias trim is self made from silk shantung.The 5/8"seam allowance of the neckline, sleeve and bottom hem are turned to the right side and the bias binding covers them. It is an interesting way to clean finish the hems, but it took a lot of hand basting, first of hems and then of binding over the hems.

Burda tunic 6 1997 107

Burda 6 97  107

Burda Tunic as swimsuit coverup

Burda Tunic with shorts

Let's see if the rehearsal dinner dress and the Mother of the Groom dress get made. Fingers crossed for luck. 

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Yee Haw!

 My youngest sister lives in Tucson,  AZ. Her birthday is in late February,   which is also when the Tucson Rodeo is held.  

This combination of events provides the perfect excuse for a vacation. A warm dry location,  family, and fun stuff to do.   The rodeo is a big thing in Tucson. Schools close for two days so that everyone can attend the Rodeo parade. People get dressed up, fancy boots, jackets, blouses/shirts and hats. Last time I attended the Rodeo, I wore "east coast go to the county fair" clothes.  This time I was determined to blend in. I had the boots. They were leftovers from a western themed marketing campaign at the company I worked for. Employees were given the opportunity to buy a pair of Lucchese boots for ~$40.  A lot of employees immediately sold theirs on eBay for about 10 times the price they paid, but I kept mine.  

I wanted to sew  a top or jacket in a western style to wear with my boots.  In my Google search for patterns and inspiration I came across many colorful, embroidery embellished,  vintage western garments from the 1940's. It appears to be a time when there was a lot of interest in the western lifestyle, and Hollywood  released lots of cowboy movies. I also found McCall's patterns  for western themed clothing from the same time period. Below are  some of  the women's patterns, but there are also similar patterns for men and children.

McCall 1295

McCall 1348

McCall 1297

 I loved them. But these vintage  patterns, if available, were very expensive.  Luckily one link popped up for  Decades of Style  pattern #4008 1940s Rodeo Gal Shirt.  It appeared to be a reproduction of McCall's 1297,  and it was available in PDF format. The Rodeo Gal Shirt cover drawing shows the exact same illustration as the McCall's 1297, but with less embroidery and minus the smile pocket (non-flap, open chest pockets that are curved, like a smile, with a stitched arrowhead shaped tack on the ends.) I immediately downloaded the pattern.

Decades of Style #4008 1940s Rodeo Gal Shirt

Wool blend gabardine was a fabric that was used for 1940 RTW western wear and also recommended by the patterns.  I used a large piece of cream gabardine left over from my New Years Eve pants for the yokes and cuffs. I found a a rusty red rayon wool blend gabardine for the sleeves and lower bodice in my stash. The metallic gold piping was also from my stash. The snap fasteners from Amazon. Bemberg rayon was used for the  yoke lining.  The pattern sizing is current and the  instructions were good.

 There was one unusual detail  I had never seen before . The sleeve had an  horizontal slash dart a couple inches from the bottom that secures the sleeve pleats. The slash dart is sewn with the raw edges to the right side of the fabric and is later covered by the cuff.  I think it  is a clever way to add pleats above the cuff without  extending them  to the bottom of the sleeve, where they might have caused bumps in the seam where the cuff is attached like a reverse facing.

Slash Dart

 I chose to do all the embroidery that is shown on the  McCall's pattern cover.  It is fairly simple as embroidery goes. Satin stitch and stem stitch. But I had not done this kind of embroidery since high school(40+ years) when I decorated my blue chambray work shirt with flowers, peace signs and hearts.  I had to buy floss, a  hoop, and needles. I also  watched a lot of YouTube video on pattern transfer methods and stitching. Knowing my first embroidery attempts would be a bit clumsy (an understatement) I started working on the pieces of fabric that the cuffs were to be cut from. I could hide the cuffs behind my back if necessary. By the time I embroidered the front yokes, and purchased a magnifier for close work,  my stitching  looked much better. 

#4008 1940s Rodeo Gal Shirt Front

#4008 1940s Rodeo Gal Shirt side

#4008 1940s Rodeo Gal Shirt back

As you can imagine, this project was a lot of work. I had to do my normal fitting alterations, plus embroidery, piping on shaped yokes, and applying snap fasters.   But I got it done.

1940's McCall  Pattern Rodeo Shirt

We had a great time at the rodeo. We watched it from The Vaqueros club (equivalent to box seats) out of the direct sun, with lots of drinks and food. I got several compliments  on my blouse from other ladies in the club.