Friday, November 30, 2012

Gift: Kwik Sew 3422 - A Shirt for The Preacher*

Hey, thanks for the lovely comments about my coat. I was down and out with a stomach bug for three days this week and your kind thoughts were a very welcome bright spot!

Three years ago I made a shirt for The Preacher. At the time I wasn't sure that it was a success, but he really liked it and continues to wear it often and really appreciate it. Decent quality shirting fabrics are really hard to come by locally so I don't do a lot of sewing for him. Okay, that's just an excuse. I bought a nice piece of shirting cotton in NY with him in mind more than 18 months ago and didn't do anything with it until now.

Kwik Sew 3422

It was The Preacher's birthday at the beginning of November, so I did some stealthy sewing and worked on this without him knowing. The sewing was stealthy, I guess, but the idea of this shirt wasn't really. He knew about the fabric when I bought it and had talked about making it a couple of times. I had tried to talk him into a trimmer fit and I thought the sleeves were too long, but he really didn't like those ideas. Thankfully, I came to my senses and realized that if you're going to have the luxury of a "custom" shirt, then you should get to have it how you want. So this was made just like the first one.

Kwik Sew 3422

I had to give it to him without buttons because I didn't have any on hand that would work. I also wanted his opinion about which kind he would like. Then after I got the buttons, my machine needed some professional attention so the buttonholes had to wait. The Preacher waited patiently, but was very happy to wear his shirt when it was finally finished.

Kwik Sew 3422

I know not everyone feels the same way, but I really love sewing shirts like this - collars, cuffs, plackets, etc. I linked the various tutorials I use in this post. This fabric was really nice to work with and was certainly worth investing my time in. Knowing The Preacher would really appreciate it was a bonus, too.

*If you haven't been following along very long, The Preacher is aka my husband.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Simplicity 2508 - Orange Coat

I have more fabric than will fit in my fabric closet. It seems that a purge and reorganizing effort is on the horizon. But, before I get to that, I've queued up projects for some of the bulkier fabrics. I need the space that they take up. The first of these projects is a new coat for me!

Simplicity 2508 - Coat

The fabric...
I purchased this orange coating fabric over a year ago when all the clearance fabrics at Fabricland were $1.00/meter. However, this is not a high-quality piece of fabric. It is mostly polyester and I don't expect it to wear well. I suspect it will pill. For that reason, I didn't invest a lot of time in the construction. Also, I'm thinking that I might get tired of an orange coat more quickly than something neutral, so I didn't see the need to use lots of elaborate techniques on this project.

Simplicity 2508 - Coat

The lining fabric was given to me by a destashing acquaintance. It isn't particularly fabulous, but it was on hand and perfectly serviceable. The entire coat is underlined with flannel for extra warmth. I should have taken a picture of the underlining. There are three different types of flannel included. No one piece was large enough. Stashbusting! I'm impressed with how much the flannel helps with warmth. Warm is good. We're getting snow and it feels like winter is definitely here.

Simplicity 2508 - Coat

The pattern...
Simplicity 2508 was the pattern I was originally going to use for this coat, so I had already made a muslin. Thankfully, I still had it. I had not made any changes to the muslin, so that's where I started. I'm 5'8" and everything about this coat was too short. I lowered the bust point, lengthened the sleeves, lowered the back tab (which originally looked more like it was spanning my shoulder blades than my waist) and added overall length to the jacket at the hem.

Simplicity 2508 - Coat

The raglan sleeve style is easier to construct than a set-in sleeve. There are many options included with this pattern and I think one could make a few very different looking coats from the same pattern. I particularly like these wide buttoned sleeve bands.

Simplicity 2508 - Coat

The construction...
I didn't really use any tailoring techniques on this coat. The fronts and front facings are fully interfaced with a lightweight fusible. In hindsight, it seems that it would have been smart for me to interface all of the main pieces. My biggest concern was whether or not the buttonholes would turn out to be any good. A plane ticket to NY for a visit to Jonathan Embroidery is not an option right now. I tried a few different settings and they turned out pretty well when I stitched them twice.  The first pass was at a lower density and then I sliced them open. The second pass was done with both an increased width and density. They aren't perfect, but they did work pretty well.

Simplicity 2508 - Coat

I highly recommend this series of tutorials from Kathleen Fasanella at Fashion-Incubator for joining the jacket lining, hem and facing all by machine. It feels a little like a puzzle the first time, but it really works and her explanation is excellent.

The final verdict...
I really do like this coat (and the space that it has created in my fabric closet). I think I could have gone down a size, but I really like the full range of motion that the roominess allows.

Simplicity 2508 - Coat

Even if this isn't a coat that I'll be wearing for years and years, I'm happy to have added it to my outerwear options for now. I don't go to work each day and am often at home, so people see my coats (school runs, grocery shopping, errands, etc) more than my winter clothes. The Canadian winter is long and bleak. Perhaps this colorful option will add some warmth for me in more ways than one.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Gift: Clutch Handbag

At the end of the summer I shortened a dress for a friend. It was a dress she had worn as a bridesmaid in a wedding. Shortening it meant that she could wear it again and she did - as a wedding attendee. I was left with a pretty good size swath of fabric that was cut off the bottom of the dress. I didn't really have a plan for it, but thought it would be best to hang on to it.

Fast forward a few months....and I turned some of the fabric into a matching clutch:

Clutch Handbag

I drew up the pattern, but copied the shape of the bottom from one of my daughter's purses. The bag is underlined with a pretty heavyweight upholstery fabric. It gives it some heft and stability. The fashion fabric actually has a lot of stretch.

Clutch Handbag

The flap is finished with a bias binding and the bag closes with a magnetic snap. The inside is lined.

I actually made this gift using her sewing machine! She loaned it to me when mine needed some attention in the shop. She's a good friend!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gift: Knitting Needle Case

Knitting Needle Case

I made this knitting needle case for my mom's birthday. It is intended for double-pointed and circular needles and I really like the zippy pouch to hold all the other knitting tools.

Knitting Needle Case

It folds up in thirds and ties with a ribbon. It's hardly visible in the picture, but I quilted the outer layer with a large diamond grid. The pattern called for fusible fleece, but I didn't have any on hand. Using regular batting worked pretty well.

Everyday Handmade

The pattern is from this book, Everyday Handmade by Cassie Barden and Adrienne Smike, which I picked up at my local quilt shop several months ago. The instructions were good and there are a number of other cute projects that I'd like to try, like this lady bug coin purse...

Project from "Everyday Handmade"

This Weird Science lap quilt is actually what made me want to buy the book. Love it!

Project from "Everyday Handmade"

But, actually, I should probably first make myself one of the knitting needle cases. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I had to pull my dpns and circulars out of a plastic bag for the picture up top. Not cool.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

(Incomplete) Black Wool Pants

For the most part, my blog posts are about finished items. These pants aren't finished yet. They need to be hemmed and I think I need to completely redo the waistband (a real bummer since it is totally completed). So, I wish this was a post about a finished item, but instead it is just a post where I am excited about something new to me.

SILK-LINED PANTS! Whoa.

Black wool pants

I think redoing the waistband will be worth it. I'm going to want to wear these all the time. So, of course, I want them to look good.

Both the silk and the black wool are from a trip to NY and I'm confident using them now since it's been awhile since anyone spit up on me or wiped their nose on me (thanks, kids!).

Black wool pants


I'm happy with how the welt pockets turned out. The wool was really nice to work with. My local Fabricland rarely carries high quality fabrics like this. These were a treat to work with.

Now, where's my seam ripper...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

McCall's 6603 - Grey Oversized Sweater

McCall's 6603

Hooray for busting some fabric out of deep stash! This sweater knit has been with me for a few years. It survived a couple of purges, but I always had a hard time deciding what exactly it should be. At some point, I bought a piece of matching Ultrasuede. I assume I had a plan in mind then, but it never happened. When I saw McCall's 6603, this fabric came to mind.


When I actually got around to making this top, I struggled to remember what I was actually thinking when I ordered this pattern. After a quick-and-dirty muslin, I ended up combining views A and D and significantly shortening the length.

McCall's 6603

I used the Ultrasuede for a hem band and the sleeve bands. Getting the corner mitered appropriately was done without any precision or calculating - just guessing and testing. I did have to do a wee bit of trimming after the stitching was done to get the edge sharp.

McCall's 6603

The pattern for the hem band in View D is a separate piece added on to the bottom. I didn't want that much bulk or the added length, so I just stitched the band on top of the bottom edge. 

McCall's 6603

The sleeve bands, however, did require self facing so there is a little more bulk there and the armholes are a little more rigid than I'd like. I just trimmed the extra off near the stitching on the inside.

McCall's 6603

Other random notes about the pattern:
  • The cowl piece has some shaping along the back seam.
  • I sized down one size from the envelope recommendation, but with this oversized style fit isn't much of an issue.
  • Assembling the pattern is very quick and easy. I spent way more time deciding what to do with the pattern options/fabric combos and how to do it than I did actually sewing it up.


McCall's 6603

I received a few compliments the day I wore it and people seemed genuinely surprised that I made it - not something that happens all that often anymore with people who know that I sew.

McCall's 6603

I also made the black long-sleeved T in the photos. From two short-sleeved mini-dresses. Because I thought that would be simpler. It wasn't. And that's all I've got to say about that. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jalie 2911 - Shawl-collared Pullover

When I pulled out the Jalie pattern I used for my daughter's jeans, I noticed Jalie 2911 and the relaxed, cozy look of it really appealed to me.


I had a length of lightweight cotton fleece that I thought would be a good match for this. The view with the hood looked particularly cozy to me, but I didn't have enough fabric for that.

Jalie 2911

The instructions for applying the shawl collar are good, but those inset corners require some precision. You really want to hit them bang-on the first time. Which is not what I did. Ripping out stitches in this dark, fuzzy fabric was no treat. I was able to get the corners in well, but I was left with a little hole in the corner. A few discreet hand stitches closed it up. The pucker shows up pretty well in the picture, but I don't think it is as noticeable in real life.

Jalie 2911

I added cuffs with thumb holes to up the warm-and-cozy factor. I think the holes ended up a little too small, but I haven't actually worn it yet to say for sure.

A cup of tea and a good book will be the perfect accessories for this top.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Simplicity 2245 - Navy Tunic

Awhile ago I was inspired by this photo via Pinterest. I liked the layers, the simple lines and the mix of neutral colors. I was pretty convinced that her dress was navy, but now I think it's actually dark grey. It took me awhile to get over the "no-no" of navy and black together, but lately I really like it. Same with brown and black. So, this is me combining as many neutral colors as possible:

Simplicity 2245

The tunic is the noteworthy item here. The pattern is Simplicity 2245, a lisette pattern that I purchased awhile ago. I made View B, the tunic.


Based on other reviews and the fact that my fabric had some stretch, I went down two sizes. I also added darts in the back for a more streamlined shape there. There were no changes otherwise - this is an easy project!

Simplicity 2245

The pockets are a great feature of this pattern. The instructions for completing them are great - they look more complicated than they are.

Simplicity 2245

The fabric is a stretch cotton blend with tone-on-tone stripes. I like the subtle texture the stripes create. Just for the fun of it, I cut the yoke piece on the cross grain.

Simplicity 2245

The neckline closes in back with buttons and loops, but I don't actually need them for getting in and out of the tunic. However, I suspect I would need them if my fabric didn't stretch. These two lovely anchor buttons were waiting in the button jar for just such a time as this.

Simplicity 2245

I also made the leggings, sometime last winter from a Burda pattern. They're made from ponte knit, so they're heavy enough to be warm and opaque enough for me to feel sufficiently covered.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Jalie 2908 - Girls Stretch Jeans

My daughter has a pair of skinny jeans that she really likes. I bought them from Old Navy. They are both the tall and slim version of her size. The adjustable waistband elastic is pulled as tight as it can go and then they stay up. She hasn't really liked jeans up until this pair, so I'd been surprised by how much she wears them.

When I asked her about it, she told me that she really likes them because they make her feel tall. She said something like this: "You know how if you have a square and a rectangle that are the same height, the rectangle will look taller? I think it's kind of like that. I know I'm not actually taller, but it kind of seems like it more with these than my other jeans." Very insightful, kiddo.

I was very unimpressed with the quality of those Old Navy jeans. The denim looked very worn after just a few washes and they had a hole in the knee after a couple of months so I wasn't eager to go buy another pair. I had flagged an Ottobre pattern for trying to make a pair of skinny jeans, but knew it would take a fair bit of modifications to make it work. Then I remembered this Jalie pattern and got right to work on it.


I started with size I, tapered the legs so they're skinny jeans, and added 6" of length. The only part of this pattern that I didn't like was the waistband. The instructions would have you cut it out on the bias, but I was skeptical about that so I cut it on the straight grain. I also think it is a little too wide, but it might just look different to me because I omitted belt loops.

Jalie 2908 - Stretch Jeans

While I was making these, I was expecting them to be too small (the pieces all just looked so skinny!) so I took some shortcuts. I mentioned the lack of belt loops, but there are also no rivets, and minimal back pocket detailing and less topstitching than is typical for jeans.

Jalie 2908 - Stretch Jeans

Jalie 2908 - Stretch Jeans

I did add buttonhole elastic in the waistband because I thought the waistband might gape (and it does). The elastic does help with that.

Jalie 2908 - Stretch Jeans

Here are the modeled shots:

Jalie 2908 - Stretch Jeans

Jalie 2908 - Stretch Jeans

Jalie 2908 - Stretch Jeans

Doesn't she look tall? ;) I'm curious to see how this denim holds up after a few wears and washes. I'm sure I'll be making more of these.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Burda 9564 - Corduroy Dress

The majority of the clothes I make for my kids are for my older daughter. My son gets hand-me-downs from some other families and my younger daughter gets hand-me-downs from my older daughter. So, my older daughter usually has the greatest amount of need for clothes. The other two do notice this pattern, so they get extra excited when I do work on something for them.

My daughter was pretty excited about the idea of a new dress when I started this one, and she was really excited when it won first prize in our local fair* but now she won't wear it.

Burda 9564

I love the fabric - the trees, the squirrels, the dark red background, the fact that it's corduroy. She doesn't like the fabric - "it's not girlish" is what she says. Bleh. If the squirrels were pink and sparkly (ick), she'd like it. I'm not sure if I should be frustrated with her narrow views or commend her for having a firm grasp on her own sense of style.

I also really like the pattern - Burda 9564. I think it's a great play dress pattern and I find it hard to find long sleeve dress patterns. The instructions about how to finish the neckline were somewhat unclear for me, so I just used bias tape. I also used bias tape to make elastic casings at the wrist. The instructions would have you just stitch the elastic right to the sleeve, but I find that hard to adjust for fit. The buttons I chose were smaller than recommended, so I used six instead of four.

Burda 9564

Even my "The buttons are made from coconuts - isn't that cool?!" speech didn't sway her toward liking this dress. It's a shame that she wouldn't even put it on for a picture, because it's really cute on her!

*This dress really didn't deserve first place. The second place winner was a dress with smocking, hand embroidery along the hem, and bound and piped armholes and neckline. It was all quite well done and I'm sure it took oodles more hours to create than this one did!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ottobre 4/2012 #29 - Denim Jumper

This jumper pattern from Ottobre seemed like a good one to use with the second pair of huge jeans passed on to me. Seams at the sides, center front, and center back made it easy to make good use of the jeans legs.

Ottobre 4/2012 #29

The jumper pattern has pockets, but I left them off and added some flower appliques.

Ottobre 4/2012 #29

The buttons are tack style jeans buttons and one of them bent as I was hammering it on, so I'm curious how long it will last. All of the topstitching is done with the triple straight stitch and you can see I had some difficulty crossing over seams. This denim was pretty thick and heavy.

Ottobre 4/2012 #29

Overall, I'm not that excited about how the jumper turned out. I should have taken in the CF and CB seams, but I had those all topstitched before my daughter tried it on. Those triple stitches are really awful to rip. The denim was just a little too heavy for this pattern and the jumper stands away from her body a little too much. It's wearable and my daughter likes it, so I don't think it's a failure. The leggings are Burda 9615 - a winner every time!

Friday, October 5, 2012

For the Record

It's hard for me to believe, but it looks like I still have followers! Thanks for hanging with me through my very sporadic posting. It's been mostly "work" sewing happening around here lately. Some alteration items and then a few pillows and angels for the shops:

Whoops. Try to look past the camera lens smudge that shows up on every picture. 

Sunflower Pillow

Sunflowers Pillow

Leaf Pillow

Leaf pillow

Pumpkin Pillow

Pumpkin Pillow

Bathroom Angels

Prior to these things, I made a dress for one daughter and a jumper for the other, but haven't been able to get pictures yet. Now I'm really looking forward to some sewing for ME! My want-to-sew list is much too long, but plotting and planning is part of the fun, right? Right.