Pattern Review: StyleArc Cold Shoulder Top


Pattern Description: From StyleArc’s website – Embrace the trend this season and wear the fashionable “Cold Shoulder Top” with its cut out shoulders this top is designed to hug the body and looks great with your jeans. Make it with a long or short sleeve.

I made the long sleeved version.
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Sucky Selfies

Thanks, all, for your thoughts and comments on Preferences. Special shout out to Sewing Faille, whose description of the time, treasure and talent involved in getting a good set of pictures was so painfully funny, it practically made me spew coffee on my screen. I will continue to post construction pictures, and I’ll try to get shots of me in the clothes, but no promises that it will happen every time. In fact, I can reasonably assure you that it will continue to be a minority unless I can get my stupid Amazon remote photo clicker thing to work. It supposedly does with my camera, but it never has, and I’m not even sure where it is right now… Oh well.

Continue reading Sucky Selfies

Pattern Review: Butterick 5250 (OOP) High Waisted Trousers


Pattern Description: From the pattern envelope: “Misses/Misses’ Petite Pamts and Belt: Above-waist, creased pants ABC have fly front zipper and back darts. A, B front darts. C, D: front tucks. A: button trim and cuffs. B: carriers and belt.”

I made view B, but I skipped the belt and I’ll used a purchased belt instead.

Sizing: 6-22. I made a 14.
Continue reading Pattern Review: Butterick 5250 (OOP) High Waisted Trousers

Pattern Review: Retro Butterick B6734 Dress

Man, it has been a week. My mother passed away peacefully last Friday after a very long battle with Alzheimer’s. That was a blessing. She’s with Dad now, which is good. The family drama that accompanied her death? Not so much. I’m not going to bore you with the details; every family has its own version, I’m sure. It’ll pass, like a kidney stone maybe, but it will pass. Her funeral was today, and it was lovely. I was able to hold it together until the incensing of the casket. That killed me.

Sigh…

But, as they say, life goes on. Last week I bought Butterick 6734, a retro dress with some style variations. I’m not usually much of a retro girl, but I do like some of the styles from the 1940s and this one really appealed to me.
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Pattern Review: Simplicity 1325 Bolero Jacket

Okay, before I begin, can I just tell you? This week – I want to just end this week. I want it to be Friday. In fact, I want this month to miraculously turn into September. And even more than that, I want this year to turn into next year, KWIM? It has nothing do to with anything outside of my family. It’s just been that kind of week.

Sorry, had to let that out. Where were we? Oh yes, deep, calming breath. The Elves suggested I go home today after getting a phone call from my sister, so I took their advice and worked on my Simplicity 1325 jacket. They call it a jacket, I call it a bolero; it’s a bit of a hybrid.
Continue reading Pattern Review: Simplicity 1325 Bolero Jacket

Favorite Garments to Make

I’m working on a jacket today, Simplicity 1325.  Yesterday I was planning to make some knit tops that would transition from summer to fall, but I first decided to clean my sewing room at home. Seriously, it had been over a year since I have been able to see the entire surface of my sewing machine table. And don’t ask me about the piles of interfacing lying on my little cubby cabinet. The room had become overwhelming to me, and I couldn’t function in there, so clean clean clean it was!

How nice to not have to move things around just to sew a seam!
How nice to not have to move things around just to sew a seam!

Continue reading Favorite Garments to Make

Pattern Review: McCalls 6996 Cardigan


Pattern Description: From McCalls’ website, “Close-fitting, unlined jackets have raised neckline with front or front band extending into gathered back collar, long sleeves and stitched hems. A, B: Lower back peplum and shaped front hemline. D: Self-belt”

I made View A.

Sizing: This is interesting. The website says 4-26, but the printed version I have is XS/S/M. I made Medium, which is equivalent to a 12/14. I can’t remember when exactly I purchased my copy, so they may have changed the sizing since I bought it.

Available as a PDF? Yes

Fabric Used: Designer Rayon Jersey in Steel, from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course).

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130, Juki MO654DE, Naomi the Naomoto/ironing board, sleeve board, ham, shoulder stand.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11 needle, two scraps of Pro-Tricot Interfacing, selvage of silk organza, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Tips and Tricks for Sewing With Knits, Just About Anything by The Pressinatrix, How to “Flat Set” a Sleeve.

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

How were the instructions? They were fine. I didn’t really need them. This is a pretty simple pattern to make, and it’s really well drafted and goes together beautifully.

Construction Notes: I did a couple of things differently from the instructions. Obviously, I flat-set the sleeve, instead of setting it in the round. They have you gather each center back collar pieces to a 3 1/4 inch length of purchased seam binding. Instead, I stitched the CB collar seam, then gathered that to a single 3 1/4 inch length of silk organza selvage. I prefer silk organza to seam binding for a few reasons. One, I have it lying around my sewing room all the time, so it’s essentially free. Two, it adds no bulk, and using a single piece instead of two pieces of seam binding reduces bulk even more, and three, it’s not at all itchy.

You can see the organza peeking out under the CB seam

I also stabilized the shoulders with scraps of tricot interfacing

I did narrow hems all around

Neckline Hem

Likes/Dislikes: I love the design lines: the quasi peplum

Not too peplum-y

The angled shoulder seams

And the general drape of the garment. There’s really nothing I don’t like.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Gosh yes and gosh yes! I could see making several of these, and I think they would make great holiday gifts too.

Conclusion: This pattern is a real winner! Here are pictures on Shelley. I’ll get some on me when the weather cools a bit more.

Front
and Back

My mojo is still going strong, and I’m thinking I would like to do something more along the couture lines. I have no idea what. But I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, happy sewing!

Pattern Review: Simplicity 8166 Tunic

Despite the drought and oppressive heat here in Boston, my sewing mojo has been in full bloom!

Pattern Description: From Simplicity’s website – “Misses’ peasant style blouse and dress features a shirring or bow tie neckline to create a chic look. Pattern also includes skirt and pant”

I made the bow-blouse/tunic, view D

Sizing: 8-22. I made a 12.

Available as a PDF? Yes

Fabric Used: Easy Care Paisley Charmeuse from Gorgeous Fabrics. That fabric is, alas, long since sold out, but Here’s a Page with similar fabrics that would work well for this top (or the dress).

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130, Juki MD654DE serger, Naomi the Naomoto, ironing board, sleeve board, Clover Hold It Stiletto.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, Superior So-Fine #50 Thread (more on that later), Maxi Lock Thread (in the serger). Clear snaps, 1/4 inch elastic, Interfacing from stash.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, Quick Tip – Using Pins to Mark Start/Stop Points, Setting a Sleeve into an Armhole

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? More or less (more on that in the Construction Notes section)

How were the instructions? Hmmm. I’ll give you an anecdote. About a dozen years ago, when I toured Simplicity’s then-headquarters on Park Avenue, I asked one of their folks about their instructions and why they were… less than I would like. Her response was, “We will never put more than 2 double-sided pages of instructions in an envelope.” When I pressed her, using Claire Shaeffer’s instructions as a counterpoint, her expression hardened and she said again, “We will NEVER put more than 2 double-sided pages of instructions in an envelope.”

Ooooookay…

Moving right along,

Construction Notes: I made an FBA
8166 FBA
I did NOT like their method for inserting the placket. The elastic was too long, and it just looked Becky-Home-Ecky to me. I applied interfacing to the plackets and sewed them into the CF opening as you would a sleeve placket, with the plackets overlapping. Instead of elastic/button closures, I used clear snaps as closures. I thought about using decorative snaps, but the ones I have in stash are just a skoosh too big, so I went with these.

Here you can see the snaps

I also found, with this method of placket construction, that I needed only 5 snaps, instead of 8 buttons.

I used my favorite way of setting a sleeve, and if I do say, it works great!

That’s a nice shoulder line!

One note: the sleeve elastic guide is WAY too big. You can see it in the pattern picture – the sleeve gapes away from the model’s wrist. The guide for a size 12 is 9 inches. I only needed 7 1/4 inches. My advice is measure your wrist and add about a half inch to 3/4 of an inch. That’s more than enough and it won’t cut off circulation.

Likes/Dislikes: I like the look of this pattern. It’s got a vaguely 70s vibe. I really dislike the way they have you construct the front closure, and I’m not crazy about the instructions in general.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I probably won’t do it again. I only need one of these blouses. Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Conclusion: Despite my reservations, I do like the way it turned out. If the weather ever cools here in Boston I’ll try to get a picture of me in it. In the meantime, here it is on Shelley.

About the thread. I was contacted by a very nice man from Superior Threads earlier this year. He wanted to know if I would be interested in carrying their thread, and sent me several samples. This one just happened to match my fabric well, so I used it for this project. I was suitably impressed! It is quite fine, as the name implies. They recommend using an 80/12 topstitch needle with it, but I think they target a quilting market, rather than a garment sewing market. It worked fine with a Universal 70/10 needle. I like it because it doesn’t shred. I’ve had a real problem recently with some Gutterman thread shredding as it feeds through my machine. I know it’s not the Pfaff, since other threads don’t have that problem. This thread seems to be strong enough to stand up to regular wear and tear. I’ll let you know as time goes. I’m the first to admit I’m not a thread expert, but this one seems like a winner. I haven’t decided if I’m going to carry it, but you can link to the manufacturer above. I receive no compensation for any links, and I am not affiliated with Superior Threads, so click through with impunity!

Not sure what I’m going to make next, but I’m hoping inspiration comes soon, since my mojo is going gangbusters.

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: StyleArc Poppy Zip Top


Pattern Description:  “This will become a wardrobe favourite. The slightly raised neckline, zip front and pleated back gives this style an elegant look that is both timeless and on trend. The design lines create a flattering shape. Make it with the new short elbow length sleeve or leave it sleeveless”

I made the sleeveless version

Sizing: 4-30. I made a 10

Available as a PDF? Yes

Fabric Used: Embroidered Cotton Eyelet – Grenadine, from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course!) And OMG, can you believe it? It’s still available on the site. What a treat! Silk organza in bright red (waiting to get more for the site).

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130, Naomi the Naomoto, ironing board, shoulder stand, ham.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10. Thread.

I used a Riri zipper that my friend Rosie sent to me from New York. Thanks Rosie!!!

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, Sew From Wide to Narrow.

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

How were the instructions? Bare bones, typical of StyleArc. They give you the basic order of construction. Fortunately, this top is very well drafted and goes together readily.

Construction Notes: First up, I made a muslin to test this out. I took some excess ease out of the upper chest at the princess seam lines. If you follow me on Instagram (GorgeousFabrics) you can see the steps I took. Once I did that, I took the muslin apart, pressed the adjusted muslin pieces flat and used them as my pattern pieces.

To minimize show-through, I used the silk organza as interfacing instead of fusible interfacing, as recommended in the pattern. The organza blends better. The eyelet has solid borders along both selvages, and I used those as the front facings, to give more support to the zipper.

I think it gives more support and a cleaner finish.

I sewed it together per the instructions. I finished the raw edges of the facing using a zigzag stitch. I under stitched the facing at the neckline

And at the hem:

Likes/Dislikes: I love this pattern! I think it looks great on. The pleats give it a peplum-y style without a peplum. It goes together beautifully. There is one error in the pattern to be aware of. The notches on the Center Back Under-Pleat don’t match the notches on the Center Back.

The pattern pieces match otherwise, so ignore the notches and just sew them together.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Absolutely, and yes! This top went together beautifully. I love the lines, and I think it’s really fun. I’ll try to get a picture of me in it this weekend. In the meantime, here are a couple of shots on Shelley.

Front
and Back

Conclusion: Another win from StyleArc!

Happy sewing!