Another Ann Tee and a PSA

I don’t have too many TNT patterns, but the Ann Tee from StyleArc is one of them. I really love the lines of this pattern. I like the open neckline that isn’t too low, the ruching at the front that hides a multitude of sins, and that I can make it in less than three hours from start to finish. The fact that we share names is pure coincidence. I decided to make another one yesterday from a 4-way stretch fabric. This one is sold out, sorry, but you can see Other 4-Way Stretch Fabrics Here at Gorgeous Fabrics.

Because of the stretch in all directions, I went at the construction a little differently. I pinned from the hems (bottom and sleeve) to the notches where the ruching begins, then I measured the halfway points between the notches on the front and back, and placed a pin there. I stretched the fabric and placed several pins between, so my gathers would be evenly spaced:

This is the front

This is the front

I then basted the side seams, stretching the fabric as I did to baste the gathers in place.

Stretching the Back to Gather

Pulling the fabric taut, and using a 5/8 SA for the basting.

I did the same when I serged the side seams, then I removed the basting. Ta daa! No need to apply elastic or do gathering stitches.

Same treatment for the serged seam.

Same treatment for the serged seam.

Obviously this only works with a knit that has stretch in both the crosswise and the lengthwise grain. But it’s easy and it saves some time, so why not? Here’s the top on Shelley. I’ll wear it tomorrow.
Ann Tee 11-22-15 Front

Ann Tee 11-22-15 Back

Now for your PSA.
Folks, I had a minor FML moment last week. A couple of weeks back, I had my semi-annual mole check with my dermatologist. I have a family history of melanoma: my sister had one removed 25 years ago, and my brother has had two removed in the last several years. That on top of my own diagnosis of breast cancer 6 years ago means that they watch me like a hawk. There was one mole on my right outer thigh, that I had “noticed” about a month ago. It was slightly scaly, and irregularly shaped. I thought it might be a keratosis, but my dermatologist did a biopsy on it, just to be sure.

Well, I’m glad. Because the pathology came back and, you guessed it, early stage melanoma. Very early stage. In fact, it appears she got the entire thing when she did the biopsy, but we need to go back and get margins. The biggest bummer for me is that because of where it’s located, I’ll have to forego spin and barre classes for about 4 weeks.

This isn’t as scary to me as the breast cancer was. I’ve always believed that with my family history, it was a matter of “when”, not “if” and it’s the reason I’m so fanatical about putting on sunscreen each and every day. The truly sucky thing for me is that, unlike my sister and brother, I was never a sun worshipper! Aint that a kick in the head?

Melanoma is one of the deadliest cancers, but it’s entirely curable if you catch it early. Please, please, PLEASE, check your skin on a regular basis. If something looks “different” to you, get it looked at by a doctor. And wear sunscreen! I use physical sunscreens (titanium dioxide) because they are less harmful to coral reefs than chemical sunscreens (I’m also a SCUBA diver) and because most dermatologists, mine included, prefer them to chemical sunscreens. I have two brands that I like: Elta MD and Avene. NAYY to either, but I use them every day. Even my kids are devotees.

So please, check your skin, and if you see something that doesn’t look right, please get a doctor to look at it. I want you all to be around for a very, very long time!

Posted in Fabrics, StyleArc | 10 Comments

2948 Maxi Sweater On the Hoof

Today I’m wearing my new maxi sweater and I’ve gotten 4 compliments on it from random folks when I ran some errands at lunch. How fun is that!

Self timer sucky self portrait

This is a great pattern. Kwik Sew patterns tend to run a bit large on me, but I like that for a topper like this – I can wear heavier weight tops under it during the winter. If you can find this pattern, I highly recommend it. It goes together quickly and it’s easy to modify.

Happy sewing!

Posted in Fabrics, Kwik Sew | 8 Comments

Snatching Victory from the Jaws of Defeat – Kwik Sew 2948 Cardigan (modified)

After the debacle that was the no-Named pattern, I fell back and punted. Sewsy, bless her, suggested a couple of Kwik Sew Patterns, one of which, K2948, I had in my pattern stash and had even traced off in a size medium. Cue the happy dance!

The website says out of stock; I’ve heard rumors it is out of print. Not sure if that is correct.

I made this pattern years and years ago, in a very different type of knit (much lighter weight), so here’s a new review.
Pattern Description: Misses’ fitted cardigans and tops. The cardigan has long sleeves and a front band with a buttonhole and button closure. View A has a self fabric belt. The View A pull-over top has a stand-up collar and hemmed armholes. The View B pull-over top has a boat neckline and the neckline and armholes are hemmed.

I made the (even) long(er) cardigan, sans the belt.

Sizing: XS to XL. I made a medium.

Available as a PDF? No.

Fabric Used: Chunky Ribbed Italian Sweater Knit in Ivory/Taupe. I just love this knit. It’s so warm and cozy. It doesn’t photograph nearly as beautiful as it is IRL. The texture is something you need to see in person.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130 Sewing Machine, Juki MO-654DE serger, Naomi the Naomoto/board, shoulder stand, sleeve board, silk organza press cloth.

Needle/Notions Used: Ball Point 70/10 needle for the seams, 90/14 for attaching the neck band to the garment (thick fabric!), Stretch 75/11 needles in the serger to finish the seams. Scraps of Pro-Weft Interfacing, buttons that I bought at JoAnn, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Masking Tape to Mark Notches, Sewing with Knits, And Now, A Word from the Pressinatrix, How to Flat-Set a Sleeve.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, with modifications

How were the instructions? I didn’t need them – I’ve made this before, and the pattern goes together very easily for anyone who’s been sewing for a little while.

Construction Notes:  Because of the thickness of the fabric, I used a single layer layout,. The back piece is cut on the fold, so I made a new pattern piece with muslin.

With a thick knit like this, I find it easier to use shears to cut the fabric

I added about 24 inches in length to the pattern. Also, since this knit is very thick I made the seam allowances 5/8″ (the pattern calls for 1/4″ SAs). I used a straight stitch, 3.0mm length, and I finished the seams with a 4-thread serger stitch.

Finishes on the seams and the neckband

I stabilized the shoulders with scraps of interfacing

I used masking tape to mark the notches

That’s a single notch at the side seam

I used 3 inch hems, and I hand-hemmed them with a catch stitch.

And finally, because this knit is so thick, I used a toothpick to give the right depth to the button. I made a thread shank with waxed thread.

Gives enough room so the thread won’t break

To me, the toughest part was trying to keep the pattern pieces on the ribs. It didn’t work out as well as I would like on the bands, but the rest of the garment turned out okay. And honestly, this isn’t one of my couture garments, and I luuuuuurve the fabric, finicky nature and all, so I’ll live with it.

Likes/Dislikes: This is so warm and comfy! No dislikes.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes. I will definitely make the shorter version of this again, and I do recommend it.

Conclusion: Big thanks to Sewsy for reminding me about this pattern! It’s comfortable and just what I wanted for this look. I will wear it with a belt. The belts I have are not the right color, but here are a few pictures on Shelley to give you a feel for how I will style it.

All by itself (front)

And the back

Here’s a “sample” belt. I’ll see if I can find something that matches better this week.

And jeans, and boots

Happy sewing!

Posted in Fabrics, Kwik Sew, Patterns, Reviews, Sewing | 4 Comments

Giveaway Time!

And the winners are:

Congratulations to the winners! I’ll be in touch shortly to get your addresses.

I was cleaning out my office the other day and I came across a couple of tools that I thought you might be able to use. As most of you know, I use the Pantone Color numbering system to try to give you an estimate of the colors in fabrics. For many years, Pantone sold a “retail” version of their fan decks, called the Pantone Shopping Guide. At $25 it was well within the budgets of most home sewing enthusiasts, and it was readily available at fabric stores and home-dec stores.

Alas, several years back, Pantone decided to discontinue that particular fan deck. Occasionally you can find them on eBay, but they have become rarer than hen’s teeth. I switched, for the business, to the Pantone Fashion Home + Interiors fan deck. It’s a lot more expensive ($225), so most home sewers don’t buy it.

In front is the Shopping Guide. Behind are the two decks I use in place of it.

In front is the Shopping Guide. Behind are the two decks I use in place of it.

Back to my office cleanup, I came across three of these decks tucked away in a credenza. Two are Pantone Shopping Guides, and one is a Pantone-licensed deck from MyMaison.

Shopping Color Guide 2

The card stock on this one is a lot lighter than the Pantone guides but it’s still useful

All three are discontinued, and all three have been used. The two Pantone bonafides are more dog-eared than the MyMaison, because they are sturdier and hold up better to the abuse extensive use they got here at Gorgeous Fabrics Galactic Headquarters. The front cover of one of the Pantone decks (the one not pictured) had an unfortunate run-in with a rotary cutter and is missing a corner, but otherwise is complete. The colors in all the decks are still pretty true – they are certainly good enough for sewing applications.

I was about to drop them in the recycling bin when I realized, someone might be able to use them, so why not useful-cycle them? So here’s the fun part – I’m doing a giveaway!

Three lucky people will win one of these decks. Let’s see… what hoop should you jump through to win one? How about this – pick your favorite Tip or Tutorial (note: the tip or tutorial must come from this blog), and tell me which it is in the comments section. I know. It’s lame, but it’s … I dunno, something, and maybe one of the tips or tutorials will be helpful to someone, so humor me. Leave your choice in the comments section, along with your email so I can contact the winners for your mailing address. I encourage you to use the name “at” isp “dot” com format. I just realized that you need to give your email to leave a comment, so you don’t need to put your email in your comment, unless it’s different from the email you use to sign in. Thanks!

On Saturday, November 14 I’ll draw three lucky winners at random to win.  I have to limit this to US only, unless you’re willing to pay international postage. If you are, please make note of that in your comment so we can arrange payment for postage (first class).

I’ll announce the winners the morning of the 14th, and I’ll contact the lucky three that same day. If for any reason I can’t get hold of a winner by the 21st I’ll pull another name from the hat. And heck, if you want, I’ll even autograph the deck for you. :)

Good luck and happy sewing!

Posted in Giveaway | 72 Comments

Ann’s Fabric/Pattern Picks To Click, November Edition

People really seemed to like the fabric/pattern combination post and email I did a couple of weeks ago. I’m so glad! I’m going to make it a regular feature of the Gorgeous Fabrics emails. I’m not sure if I’ll post here each time I send the emails out. Let me know if you think I should, would you please? Thanks! Anyway, on to the subject at hand, here are…

Today’s Picks to Click.

Our love affair with the wrap dress is still going strong. And with Thanksgiving right around the corner, a wrap dress is an elegant, comfortable option for dressing up. For a graphic stunner, pair our Computer Printed 4-Way Jersey with Cashmerette’s Appleton Dress. The graphic print is great for every figure and the wrap style looks great on everyone.

During winter, I like to wear blouses under sweaters and jackets. It’s a nice way to add polish to my office-standard jeans. One top that I just love is Maria Denmark’s Edith Blouse. It’s got a nice open neckline that will highlight jewelry or a scarf. This will pair beautifully with our Sassy Stripes Stretch Cotton for a top you can wear all year round.

Jumpsuits are still making a strong presence on runways and in stores right now. McCalls just came out with one that you can dress up or down. Try pairing McCalls 7292 with our Rayon Twill Challis in Navy Blue. And if you want to dress it up for the holidays, make the sleeves with our NY Designer Wide Matte Scalloped Corded Lace, also in Navy Blue.

Another great favorite to toss on during the winter months is a duster-style cardigan. We’ve got some spectacular Italian sweater knits in stock right now. You will be chic and toasty in our Really Wide! Nubby Italian Sweater Knit – Beige Tones. It will work beautifully as Jamie Christina’s Lark and it will take you from winter right into spring.

Aaaaand, like most fashion shows, I’ll close this letter out with a real showstopper! The holiday party/gala/dress-up season is almost upon us, and what better way to make an entrance than in this spectacular gown, Vogue 1475 by Badgley Mischka done up in our What’s New Kitty Kat Square Sequins Mesh – Gold Tones! You will guarantee that every eye will be on you. And that’s a good thing.

And In Other News
Don’t forget, tomorrow morning I’ll draw three winners in the Pantone Deck Giveaway. If you want to be entered into the drawing, leave a comment on that post and good luck!

I just found out that Ellen March, the editor of Sew News, is battling breast cancer. Ellen is very young, with three young children. Please keep her in your thoughts. There is a GoFundMe account set up to help defray the costs of her care. If you wish to contribute you can do so Here.

Yesterday, I saw my oncologist. I will reach my 6 year anniversary of my own diagnosis of breast cancer this December. Everything looks great, and all my blood work continues to come back normal. Here’s hoping!

Thank you to everyone for your kind words about my singing. It felt great to be on stage again. I’m going to try to do more soon!

Next on the cutting table is a long cardigan made with a modified version of Kwik Sew 2948 and my Italian ribbed knit. I’m hoping to have most of that done this weekend. Stay tuned.

Happy sewing!

Posted in Fabrics, Patterns, Sewing | 3 Comments

Getting Back On That Horse

This has nothing to do with sewing. Last weekend I walked onstage for the first time in more than 6 years and performed, and boy, did it feel great! It was a one-song-wonder, as part of a larger gala to benefit our high school. I performed “No One Is Alone” from Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods”. I didn’t realize how much I missed being onstage. I took a hiatus due to cancer and confidence issues, but once I walked out there, it felt like home. My friend Thaïs took a video on her iPad, thanks Thaïs! The video is a little overexposed (Irish skin under bright lights, go figure) but I think the audio turned out pretty well.

Keeping it Gorgeous Fabrics-oriented, I wore the Vogue 2237 Gown and Bolero by Badgley Mischka that I made 5 years ago – as an aside, YAY! It still fits!!!

The gala was a huge success, raising a lot of money for the music program and the marching band. DH and DS the Younger did a baritone saxophone duet, but I haven’t seen any videos of that yet. They did a great job.

Afterwards, DH and I went out for Scoobies at a local restaurant. It’s kind of fun the attention you get when you show up for an early dinner at the local nice restaurant in a fabulous gown and tux, respectively.

Post Performance Scoobies

Why, yes, I would love a glass of champagne!

A good time was had by all, it was fun to perform again, it was even more fun to see all the students performing – what a trove of talent!

I think I need to start singing regularly again. Next up sewing-wise, I’ll adjust the Kwik Sew pattern so I can make my cardigan from the Italian wool.

Happy sewing!

Posted in Fabrics, Singing, Vogue | 31 Comments

Shameless Plug: website

Happy Tuesday! I hope you are recovered from the post-Halloween candy coma. We make witches’ brew for the grownups in the neighborhood so our house is really popular. Thank heavens for Daylight Savings Time ending on Sunday morning. I think everyone needed that extra hour.


Apropos of nothing, I just found a new website that I think will be of interest to my readers: It’s done by the Lekala folks, whose patterns are generating loads of buzz around the sewing community. I like the modern look and feel of the site, so I signed up. You have to join to see it, but it was easy and free, so I did. If you have a Lekala account the login is automatic. I have no affiliation, and they have not asked me to plug them, but like I say, I joined so I think it’s worth checking out. Send me a friend request if you join and I’ll probably accept! :)

Happy sewing!

Posted in Plugs, Sites to See | 14 Comments

Dear Independent Pattern Companies…

I really want to like you. Really I do. But you are making it so. Difficult.

I decided to make myself a cardigan, and I saw a pattern that I thought would work really well for my needs. This particular pattern is available as both a PDF and as a printed pattern. I have a severe allergy to printing and taping patterns. My sewing time is worth more than that, so I ordered the printed pattern. €25.00 later and about a week-and-a-half in transit, my pattern arrived. This weekend I opened it up and…

Named Esme Sheet


What is one thing that pisses me off above all else? I’ll give you a hint: paying a lot of money for a pattern that is so lazily printed that I am obliged to trace it off. When I pay a premium for a printed pattern, I do NOT want to have to trace it. That’s just shoddy business practices. If I wanted to trace off my pattern I would buy a Burda magazine and save about $17.

Oh yes, and then I have to add seam allowances. That’s not a mortal sin, but it is an added annoyance when I am already highly annoyed.

Then there is the matter of ease. I’m fortunate that a sewing friend warned me on Facebook that she had issues with patterns from this company, so I made a muslin. 11 inches of ease at that bust? 17 at the waist? 5 at the biceps? And shoulders that hang off my (linebacker) shoulders by more than 3 inches? That’s not oversized and loose-fitting, that’s sloppy, and I don’t do sloppy. Had I dived right in with my Italian wool, as I originally thought I might, you would be able to hear me cursing from here.

So here’s where it stands. I’m dropping back and punting. I’m looking at StyleArc, Burda and Lekala to see if I can find something suitable for my fabric. Sigh. What a disappointment.

Anyone want a free pattern?

Posted in Patterns | 31 Comments

Fabric/Pattern Combinations From Gorgeous Fabrics

I sent this out to Gorgeous Fabrics’ email list today, but I thought this might be of interest to my blog readers as well.

One of the comments we get frequently here at Gorgeous Fabrics’ Galactic Headquarters is that you love our pattern suggestions for each fabric. Since it’s one of our favorite things to do, today we’ll show you some combinations that strike our fancy. These fabric/pattern combos will be great additions to any wardrobe, and we have options for just about every occasion!

First up, with winter coming, we’re in the mood for coats. If a coat is in your sewing sights, you can’t go wrong with BCN Unique Patterns Cassock Coat together with our Italian Wool Tweed Coating in Berry. The clean lines of the coat will show off this fabric so beautifully!

Trouser style pants with great flow and natural waistlines are all the rage right now. You can make a spectacular version with Marfy 3310 and pair it with our Stretch Tropical Wool in Walnut for a sleek work look.

The holiday season is right around the corner, and what better time to pull out the stops? You don’t need to go for a slinky-siren-gown. A subtle, simple dress like Vogue 9149 becomes a sublime holiday statement in our Slice of Paillettes Sequin Mesh.

Maybe you’re more casual. We have you covered there, too! For an on-trend look that gives you the illusion of layers, you can make HotPatterns 1173 with our Athleisure Striped Light Sweatshirt Knit paired with our Italian Mini Plaid Cotton Shirting in Natural/Black/Navy. It’s layer dressing without the bulk!

We hope this gives you some good information, inspiration and ideas. Have a great day. Check out all the Gorgeous Fabrics, and as always,

Happy sewing!
Ann & The Elves

I won’t put this on the blog every time I send one of these emails out. If you want to get them on a regular basis you can Click Here to Sign Up For Our Newsletter. You’ll also receive notifications about sales and specials, and we NEVER share your information with anyone.

What do you think – is this kind of newsletter and information helpful? Let me know. I really value your feedback!

Posted in Fabrics | 11 Comments

Amuse-bouche: StyleArc Marlo v.2

I wanted to something lighter for my post-Paco-Peralta-Cassock-Coat project, and I love the first version I made of the StyleArc Marlo, so I decided to make another. This time I decided to make it from Boldly Go Floral Silk/Rayon Matte Jersey, with contrast sleeves made from Poly ITY Jersey – Beyond Basic Black. Hey – check it out – both of those fabrics are still available – it’s a miracle!!! :)

I was inspired by ReDpants Designs‘ wrap dress from when she hosted McCalls’ wrap dress sew along last year. And my friend and client Karen also used the same combination in a Fabulous Maxi Dress.

This time, I cut the front in two pieces, per the StyleArc instructions. I tried, and almost succeeded, to have the print match exactly across the front. It’s close enough that most people won’t notice, and it’s not far enough off to make my eye twitch.

For the technical details, I ran this up on my home Pfaff 2130 and my home Juki serger. I used Stretch 75/11 needles in both machines. I used a 2.5mm long by .5mm wide stitch for the CF and front sleeve/bodice seams. I used that same stitch to hem the garment and sleeves, and I used a 3.5 mm 4-thread serger stitch for the side seams.

All in all, this took about 1.5 hours from start to finish over the course of several days. I’m really pleased with this version. DH really loves it. The fabric and contrast make a nice change, and each takes less than a yard of fabric so if you have pieces left over from other projects, this is a nice way to use them up.

Here are some pictures on Shelley.

Marlo 2 Front


Marlo 2 Back

Once more, this is a great pattern with good bones that makes up quickly. Not sure what my next project will be. I’ll see what inspiration hits this week when I go on a buying trip.

Happy sewing!

Posted in Fabrics, Patterns, Reviews, StyleArc | 10 Comments