Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spice Colors

I sewed up a couple of tops to wear with the butterscotch jacket from the last post.  The fabric colors were from the  “Desert pallete” of ocher, mustard, pepper and cinnamon that many designers are using this spring.

The first top was a blouse from  Burda pattern 6839, an envelope pattern that includes  seam and hem allowances. It is semi fitted style with front princess seams and back darts.  I made view A, which has pleats that radiate from the neckline.

 The fabric was a silk print of wine and  black circles on a gold and brown pin stripe background.

The fabric was really densely woven and behaved like a microfiber.  In that when I had to sew through more than 4 layers, the brand new, very sharp needles had trouble pushing through the fabric. I am still becoming familiar with my new computerized sewing machine and when this message  appeared the first time the needle could not pierce the fabric, I was a bit startled. 

While I waited for the OK button to reset, it occurred to me that this is a message I would really like to give to my kids, spouse or coworkers  sometimes. Substituting the word  "Human" for Machine. He he he! Maybe when we are all wearing Google type glasses we can program such messages to pop up  on our glasses for others to read.  Anyway, I really like the fit of this blouse and hope to make another one from this pattern soon

Burda 6839

Burda 6839 blouse & Vogue 9039 jacket

The second  top is  view A of Vogue 9006.  This one is going to be a favorite for a quick summer top. 

It is pullover with draped (small cowl) front neckline, princess seams and shaped hem.  The shoulders of the armholes are slightly cut in and for that reason, the sleeve pattern for views B and C does not work with the armhole of A.  Rats , because I really wanted the front of A with the sleeves of B. My fabric is silk georgette.

The pattern calls for finishing the sleeves with a facing.  I am not part of the anti facing sewist group. When the facing pattern is drafted correctly and the sewing is accurate, facings are wonderful.  For my silk georgette fabric, I felt  a lightly interfaced facing was perfect for finishing the armholes on this blouse and maintaining the shape. I am mentioning this because some others have sewn this top, finished the armholes with a bias binding and then complained of the arm hole being too big. Perhaps the armhole was stretched out of shape when the binding was applied? The size of the armhole on my top was perfect.
Vogue 9006

Vogue 9006 top with Vogue 9039 jacket


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Butterscotch Jacket - Vogue 9039

This little flower is a miniature iris and it is always the first flower to bloom in my yard in the spring.
Years ago I planted the bulbs randomly in the flower beds.  It is always a pleasant surprise to see them, but this year it  reminded me I needed to finish my jacket before it got too warm to wear it.

 The jacket  is sewn from a lovely tweed fabric in the golden brown color I call butterscotch. Butterscotch is a type of confectionery whose primary ingredients are brown sugar and butter. Family members will be smiling as they read this.  My favorite snack is made by smearing a piece of toasted bread with  butter  and  a liberal sprinkling of brown sugar. Microwave for 1 minute and you have  instant toffee on toast, yum!  Who wants to eat raw chocolate chip cookie dough, when you can eat the creamed butter and brown sugar mixture made in an earlier step of the recipe?   I love the flavor of  butterscotch, but I never wear the color.  For some reason, this fabric kept catching my eye.

 The jacket pattern  I used is Vogue 9039
I liked this  pattern because it was fitted, and the pointed, vented sleeves and the inset corners in the bodice seaming and the collar were style details I was interested in sewing. This jacket pattern looks very similar to popular jacket styles (shown on a lot of celebs) by Helmut Lang about 2 years ago. His jackets were where I got the idea to use leather for the collar.

 Set in corners, inset corners and  inset reverse corners are names used to refer to the same styling detail and they are featured in many patterns. 

They can be challenging  to sew depending on the fabric and the angle of the corner.  There are several sewing method  that turn up in pattern directions and tutorials.  I did some research to refresh my memory on how to sew them and list some of the different methods I found below.
Video-conquering-inset-corners Dressmaker method using organdy to reinforce corner

Blog Post -Inset-reverse-corners   Leisa uses similar technique to the video on ravely boucle fabric
Article "Conquering Inset Corners" in the June/July 2002 issue of Threads (#101).

Blog Post - Corner seams tutorial -interesting use of temporary stabilizing on the StyleArc Victoria blouse

 Blog Post - How-to-sew-a-corner-seam   Great pictures, but I prefer to stay stitch inset corner and clip before  sewing the seams

 Video - Louise Cutting   Threads Magazine Insider video ( will have to join or pay small fee to see extended library of articles and videos)  using Steam a Seam fusible tape and topstitching. Lovely, quick technique for sporty look.

DVD - Cynthia Guffey -  If you happen to have her "Corners "DVD in your sewing library. She uses low tack painters tape to mark seams before stay stitching  and takes a stitch diagonally across inset corner. She is my inspiration for precision sewing.

The inset corners were sewn quickly and without incident. The jacket was backed by  a fusible interfacing so raveling was not a problem. I use the easy method. Mark seam lines. Stay stitch inside corner seam along marking,  Clip inside corner, and sew seams pivoting at clipped inside corner.

The issues I had with this jacket, which derailed my sewing  momentum were:

1.Wide extended shoulders  The shoulders were very wide. I found this out when I tried on the assembled body without the sleeves. I reduced the shoulder width by ½ inch, but they were still a bit too wide and required extra interfacing to maintain their shape so they would not  collapse off the end of my shoulder. I did not want to use shoulder pads.

 2.  Sleeves too long. I shortened the sleeves by 1" so that the sleeve edge hit my wrist joint in the front. Yes, the pointed part of the sleeve does extend over the back of the hand. But the sleeve looks better when the front hem is where a normal straight cuff sleeve would normally end. Because the pattern directions have you finish the sleeve hem and vent before inserting the sleeve, I didn’t discover the problem until after I had inserted the sleeves in the jacket. So I had to shorten the sleeves from the bottom, re-cutting the shaped sleeve vent facing. I do not normally have to shorten full length sleeves on Vogue patterns.

 I like the jacket,  It goes well with the slacks and blouse I blogged about  recently.  And I found several other coordinating fabrics in my stash. Another top has been completed and a 2nd one is in progress. 

Vogue 9039 Front

Vogue 9039 collar close-up

vogue 9039 side view






Sunday, March 8, 2015


 I have no new sewing projects to share with you, but I will share pictures of wonderful garments sewn  by someone else for my sister.

 I just spent a week in sunny, warm Tucson, AZ.  My whole family flew out  to help my youngest sister celebrate her 50th birthday.   I am not sure she really wanted any fuss over her birthday, but it was the perfect excuse for the rest of her sibs to escape a snowy, cold, east coast winter  We all managed to fly out  between snow storms, with only small flight delays for plane de-icing.

 For her birthday party, my sister wore a dress and bolero jacket sewn by her close friend G. The dress pattern was McCall's 7085, a semi-fitted, lined dress (fitted through bust) with neckline variations and back zipper. G made view B with the short sleeves.

G added a flounce  from New look 6433 to the lower back. I think there were issues with fabric shortages or matching, but it was clever and very attractive solution.

and a bolero jacket from McCalls  pattern 5006. 


 The fabric for the dress was a cotton print of white birds on a gray background and the jacket was sewn from eyelet embroidered in a paisley motif.

 The two garments were beautifully sewn and my little sis looked wonderful in them.

M - 50th birthday. Photo taken by YB.

 The 3 sisters and SIL managed to sneak away for a quick visit  to SAS Fabrics, a fabric store that has been in Tucson for over 50 years.

The SAS stands for either Sew and Save, or Save and Sew, the staff wasn’t sure of the order. Though there is some fabric on bolts or rolls, most of the fabric is in pieces on huge tables.  It is one of those stores where you dig through a lot of junk in hopes of finding treasures. The store is not fancy and some of the stock looks like it has been around for ages.  Not the kind of store that appeals to everyone. It reminded me of the Jomar stores in Phila, PA.

  I found some light weight gray wool  and a coordinating gray and pink swirl textured fabric (it was on the minky table).  I am thinking sleeveless jumpsuit with funky shrug.

 During our visit, we stayed outdoors as much as possible to  enjoy the beautiful weather. Temperatures in the high 60’s, dry, with brilliant blue skies.  DH and I hiked in the Santa Catalina Mountains.  Steep rocky trails with a different desert view around each turn. Lots of Saguaro cactus. In fact every plant along the trail, and in my sister's yard for that matter, had spines or thorns.  I stumbled off the trail one time and had to pull pricklies out of my jeans and socks. We saw lizard and snakes on the trail,  but no wildcats or javelinas. Though my sister has seen both on her early morning en plein air painting trips.

Catalina Mountains AZ  Where's the shade?

The trail, almost to the top.

  La Fiesta de los Vaqueros - the Celebration of the Cowboys, was the week we were visiting. There are two major events that are part of the celebration. The Tucson Rodeo and Tucson Rodeo Parade. It is a big deal. Public school are closed on parade day, which we missed,  but we did go to the rodeo, part  of the annual Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit. We saw the calf roping, bull riding, and barrel racing. It was all quite exciting and very different.  I so wanted to be wearing a cowboy hat and kickin western boots like sis and  many of the locals in  the crowd.  Next time!
Sis’s house has a panoramic view.  Downtown Tucson on one side and different mountain ranges on all the others.  Every evening, the out of towners would run from one side of the yard to the other, trying to capture the rapidly changing colors of the mountains as the sun went down. Sis’s 4 terriers thought it was some new fun game. They were running  and jumping at our heels. We must have looked very comical to the neighbors. I leave you with my favorite pictures ( not photo shopped).