Friday, September 28, 2012

Oops - I accidently just...

...clicked my way into buying both of these!

McCall 5970 - I'm excited about these blouses and trying raglan sleeves!

Simplicity 9262 - I love View 1 with the sash tied in a bow

There's a sale going on over at Katherine's shop, ZipZapKap on Etsy, if you use her coupon code created in celebration of WeSewRetro's 1 year anniversary in its new home. Yay!

Check it outtttttt.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stripe /plaid Matching...


This is the plaid skirt I'm currently working on. I'd thought I knew what I was getting myself into with a skirt that has many seams (it seems!) and lots of plaid to match up. What I didn't realize before cutting into this plaid wool from my stash is that the repeat of this plaid is...rectangular? The plaid pattern is not made up of I'm trying to match it up like I would stripes, as best I can... without losing my mind.

Flaunting my plaid-matching mistakes

I'm sure I could actually match it up just right (right?) if I just kept trying...meticulously, but I am at the point where I will honestly still find the thing cute and wearable even if the stripes/plaids aren't matched's just a SKIRT, not an evening gown. Right?
It seems like I was only able to make the lines come together in a chevron-y way ...mostly. Then, they mysteriously stop matching up exactly right, part way through.

chevron-y matching...kinda

Perhaps this has nothing to do with the shape of the repeating plaid pattern, but whatever. I'm only a perfectionist about certain things, and I guess I'm ok with this not being perfect.

Consider this my disclaimer for when I actually share the finished project. :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Finished Project: Sunny Gingham Bow Blouse

So, I finished this blouse on Friday and started wearing it immediately. Did I mention that this blouse pattern is my JAM? Because it is. I love it!

That's right, it's another Simplicity 2154. After making my polka-dotted version, I knew I'd be making more of these babies. It recently struck me that I needed one in gingham...yellow gingham.

my newest Simplicity 2154 blouse - you can see my first version peeking out behind it!

it can be worn with the neckline clasped, or not!

back closeup

It's such a satisfying project to sew up!
  • I love collars
  • it has no zippers or buttonholes (when you omit them, like I do)
  • no sleeves to set in
  • pattern pieces are all set up for you to make self-bias strips to finish the armholes and neckline
  • there's a cute keyhole opening in the back, which is easy to do and looks good!
  • that's all I can think of

back of blouse and collar closeup

The things I did differently for this version of the blouse were to make the collar about an inch smaller, use french seams for the side seams, underline the lightweight poly/cotton gingham with cotton batiste, leave the peek-a-boo opening at the front neckline open at the top to be fastened with a little hook & eye, omitted the bow in the original pattern.

insides, with turned and stitched seams and cute bias strip finished armholes and neckline.

I'm sure there will be move of these bow (or sans bow) blouses popping up around here in the future, but for now I'm dreaming about what I mentioned in my last post. ...and fall/winter sewing in general.

Anise by Colette Patterns

While digging through all of my winter-weight wools and fabric, I found some nice plaid that I'm setting up for a cozy fall/winter skirt. You can spot a few glimpses of it in the background of the last blouse pictures above.

More soon!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

oh, cute!


Just popping in to say, look how cute this is:

Colette Patterns' new Anise jacket

Also, look at all of this wool I've had sitting in my stash after I was lucky enough to find it all at a yard sale way back in March!

But wait, there's more! Just in case I wasn't feeling 100% confident in my skills/experience for making a jacket like this requiring tailoring... and stuff, there's a special ebook sewing companion for this jacket that breaks down (with lots of photos!) how to properly perform all of the necessary techniques on the pattern.

the Anise Companion

How exciting! Now, I just need to convince myself I'll actually sew this jacket and not wimp out on it so that I can BUY it. We'll see...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Coming Soon!

Thank you all for your nice comments about my recently completed wrap dress! I also really appreciate all of the advice you shared regarding how I might proceed with altering Tom's shirt. Thank you! Sometimes having something explained or suggested in someone else's words can make things click better than when you are reading instructions you've scrounged up on the internets. :)

Hopefully I'll end up finishing Tom's shirt soon, but I'm kind of giving it a little break for now to let all of the advice on how to proceed my brain. haha.

Anyway, currently on my sewing table is ....drum roll... another Simplicity 2154 blouse! Surprise! I absolutely LOVED my first polka-dotted version of this blouse and have been super eager to sew up another version.

Obviously, this baby is still under construction, but I'm pretty close to finishing it up. This one is a yellow/white gingham that's underlined in white cotton batiste. I'm planning to go for a slightly different look this time, omitting the bow and making the collar a little smaller. I've also got plans to leave the peek-a-boo opening, that would hide mostly underneath the bow on the blouse (if I was including one), open, but closeable with a little clasp at the top of the neckline.

Also coming soon? 

You may or may not have noticed, but Sunni over at A Fashionable Stitch is having a little sale in her shop that ends tonight at midnight. I just happened to notice the sale yesterday night and scooped up a couple of special, spur-of-the-moment sewing goodies for myself. 

pink magnetic pin caddy

Colette Patterns' macaron

Both of these items have been on my "maybe I should break down and finally buy this" sewing list. I mean who doesn't want a bright pink, magnetic pin caddy for all of those pesky pins that seem to never stop trying to roll off of or hide under my sewing table.

Also, have you SEEN all of the adorable versions of the Colette Macaron dress popping up? Here are a couple of my favorites I've seen and been inspired by lately:

Jamie's cute version with a peter pan collar, nice little buttons, and contrasting upper bodice fabric. I love it!

Rochelle's adorable plaid and teal version, in a skirt+blouse style. TOO cute!

I think the Macaron is a perfect dress for fall, so I'm definitely hoping to sew one up soon. It hasn't always been the most appealing dress pattern for me, but lately I've been finding myself really drawn to it, mostly due to all of the cute versions my fellow sewing bloggers have created.

That's all I've got for now. What are you all planning and working on lately?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Finished Project : Simplicity Wrap Dress --- and Help!


I'm back and I've taken a crack at both of the projects I mentioned in my last post. One is now done, and one has been thrown on the floor in frustration.

I'll give you the good before the bad.

I finally used up the blue/green abstract floral rayon challis that has been sitting in my stash for probably a year...maybe longer? I've totally lost track. Anyway, it's lightweight and soft and drapey and I'd thought I would use it for a blouse. The thing is, I had something like 3.5yards...maybe 4. This made it seem more suited for a dress. When I made my gathered skirt a few months ago, it popped into my head that the rayon in my stash would look great as a gathered skirt, since it's so soft and flowy. Fast forward to a week ago and I found myself cutting out Simplicity 4986 from it. There was just enough fabric.

Simplicity 4986


I self lined the bodice and omitted the facings prescribed by the pattern. I also decided to make the sash/ties double sided (instead of single-sided as the pattern laid out) and thought I was being sooo clever throwing in some leftover fabric from Tom's shirt. The blue seemed to match the lightest blue in the rayon print. I'm not sure I'm pleased with the final look, though. Sigh - what's new.


I definitely appreciate that this pattern does not have sleeves to set in or any closures to insert. It certainly did use a lot of thread, though!

I didn't make any adjustments to the fit, other than shortening the skirt (the girls in the illustration must have either 6-foot long legs, or 17" hems), though next time I think I would make the waistline a little higher.

I'm glad I used this fabric, even though it sometimes made sewing a little trickier than if I was just using cotton. I think it gives a different look/feel to the dress than the pattern envelope depicts and it feels so nice and soft and slinky. The top does seem... blousier? rather than as fitted/structured as the illustration.


This is really a great pattern that I plan to make again. A gathered skirt on a wrap dress seemed unusual (or maybe just to me) and I love that the skirt also included pockets! I think next time I would make the pockets a little bigger, so I can fit more than just my crumpled hand in there, and also make the ties longer so I can do them up in a bow, if I'm so inclined.

I opted to finish the waist inside with some dark green ribbon that came off of one of Tom's birthday gifts from a friend, and I rather like how it tidys everything up inside.

self photo-shoot

Lastly, for your viewing pleasure: some awful photos of me in the dress. Better than nothing, I figured.

And now, on to the bad.

Like I mentioned earlier this week, I had Tom's shirt all measured out and knew just want I was going to do to make my alterations. Everything was basically too big in different ways - except the collar, which fit nicely, thank goodness. I was all set to move the sleeves 3/4" in toward the collar, take the sides of the shirt in by 1 1/4" tapering down from the hip to the hem, and make the sleeve seam about an inch narrower, so the sleeves fit a little tighter.

above left shows post-alterations, above right shows pre-altering, with the pins barely visible going down the side, to mark where to take it in.

My plans sounded great (to me) on paper, but when I took out the sleeve and moved the armhole closer to the neck so that the shoulder seam would actually lie where it should on his shoulder (but I've now noticed it STILL DOESN'T), the sleeve freaked out and got all tight and bunchy. Now the armhole is bigger than the sleeve, so I'm assuming I need to cut a new sleeve...but how do I know if it needs to be a different size/shape than the original pattern piece?

closer look at both sides of the shirt, <after (bunchy) and before (loose) > alterations


sleeve too small for armhole
Any thoughts on how to proceed? I only worked on the one side of the shirt, so once I figure out how to make it work, I'll tackle the same alterations on the other half. Hopefully, Tom will finally be able to wear this shirt by the time his next birthday rolls around.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On my sewing table...

Currently on my sewing table is the green/blue (look how green it looks above and how blue below!) rayon challis that I've been meaning to use forever, Simplicity 4986 (a birthday present to myself), and Tom's birthday shirt (finished but still awaiting fitting not really finished).

I got Tom's shirt all sewn up, and then ready to alter once he got back home from his birthday trip, and then decided to just pause for a moment and START cutting out my next project, a wrap dress I've been dying to make ever since I first laid eyes on it. Of course I had to make things a little bit more complicated by not making a muslin (it's a wrap dress, it's ADJUSTABLE!), and using soft, drapey, lightweight rayon that isn't as easy to work with as cotton, oh and self-lining the bodice. Oops. (Another "oops?," while writing this I managed to consume an entire one of these, single-handedly.)

Now I've gotten (read: struggled) half-way through the dress and Tom's shirt is still waiting. Why isn't anything as fast or as easy as I envision it?

Hopefully  next time you hear from me, one of these, if not both, will be done for real!