And the Winner of the $100 Gift Certificate Is…

I ran the random.org random number generator which gave me

That means the winner is,
Drumroll, please
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Tanya! Congratulations to Tanya, enjoy your $100 store credit at Gorgeous Fabrics. And thank you all for playing, and thank you again for your support!

I’ve been putting up dozens of new fabrics, and more are on the way, so check the NEW section often. Thanks for the last 10 years. Here’s the future!

Happy sewing!
Ann

Pattern Review: StyleArc Diana Tank Top

Exactly 5 years ago, I made this top. I wore it tons in the summer of 2012, until I spilled something on it that wouldn’t come out, so I recycled it. The pattern sat in my pattern stash until today, when, as a diversion from trying to decide what to make with some Milly Silk I have (see my Instagram if you want more about that). I wanted something quick and easy, so I pulled it out.

Pattern Description: From StyleArc’s website, “Particularly attractive neckline slightly fitted top”
My addition to that: Semi-fitted tank top with deep v-neck.

Sizing: 4-30. I made the 10.

Available as a PDF? Yes, through their Etsy Shop

Fabric Used: White Silk Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics. This is left over from another top I made several years ago. That fabric is sold out, but there are other silk jerseys available Here.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130, Juki MO654DE, Reliable Iron/board, sleeve board.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11 needles, scraps of fusible interfacing, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Tricot, It’s Not Just For Linings Any More, The Pressinatrix Feels Compelled.

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

How were the instructions? Didn’t need them, didn’t use them. This pattern is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

Construction Notes: Because I was using a remnant of silk jersey, I didn’t have quite enough to lay out the pattern pieces (both of them) in the same direction. And because silk jersey will tend to run in high stress areas, I ran a 4-thread serger stitch along the bottom raw edge. Because of the style, it’s not going to see a lot of stress, but I figured it was better to be safe than sorry.

I serged the seams, and instead of just turning and stitching the neckline and armholes, I cut 1-inch wide facings on the bias (to make sure nothing would run). I serged them to the neckline and armhole edges, then I turned them under and stitched them

Wrong side view of the neckline ad armhole facings

Serged side seams, and armhole facing

I used a 2.5mm x .5mm zigzag stitch to finish the hems.

Likes/Dislikes: Easy to make, easy to wear. Nothing to dislike.

One thing to note is the neckline can be pretty low, depending on your build. You might want to raise it a little bit (maybe an inch).

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Absolutely! This is a great wardrobe building pattern. Make a bunch of these in different fabrics for basics you can wear by themselves or under a jacket.

Conclusion: Great pattern! Here are pictures on Shelley:

Front – note the faced neckline blunts the V a bit

Back – this is very bra-friendly

And check it out – a sucky selfie on me!
Oh yeah I am such a supermodel. Bwahahaha!

It’s been in the high 60s for the past few days, so I wanted something springy. I guess I made this top just in time for the temperature to drop closer to normal. Oh well – spring is coming!

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: Vogue V1527 View B Blouse

Long one coming up! I love this type of blouse, and I have since I was young. When I saw Paco had included it as part of his Vogue Pattern V1527 I knew I would have to make it. Then this silk came across my desk and the rest is history…


Pattern Description: (From Vogue’s website) Loose-fitting blouse has collar extending into tie, back yoke extending into forward shoulder seams and French cuffs.

Sizing: 4-18, I made a 12

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used:

Note: Theresa pointed out that the pattern requires 3.5 yards and that seems like a lot. I pulled 3.5 yards per the instructions and I have a solid yard left over.  I think the yardage requirements are wrong. Do yourself a favor, especially if you have an expensive fabric, and measure the pattern. Realistically, on a size 12 body, 2.5 yards  of 45 inch fabric should do a blouse unless you have a very large print that you are trying to match.

White 3-ply Silk Crepe from Gorgeous Fabrics. Silk crepe is my favorite fabric to work with! This fabric is SOOOOOOO amazing. It’s got a heavy, luxurious drape to it, and it feels amazing. Swoon! I also used Wide Silk Organza – Off White for the cuffs (more on that later).

Even better, both these fabrics are still available! That almost never happens. I usually don’t get the chance to sew something until the fabric is long since sold out, so it’s a treat to show you a fabric that’s on the site. Did I mention we have our 10th anniversary sale going on right now? Get 10% off, plus US shipping is flat $10, regardless of how much you order! International peeps get a $10 gift certificate upon ordering, good for a future purchase.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Juki MO654DE serger, Reliable iron and board, sleeve board, ham/stand, shoulder stand, pressing finger, bamboo chopstick, point presser.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 60/8 needle in the sewing machine, Universal 70/10 needles in the serger. Vilene Shirt interfacing (a gift from Paco Peralta last year), pearl buttons, self-covered buttons, basting thread, thread, hand needles.

This interfacing isn’t available in the US, but any good shirt-weight interfacing will work as well.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, of course. Scary Silks,

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

How were the instructions? They were fine. This is not a terribly difficult pattern. The fabric choice can make it tricky to work with, but it’s a good pattern for anyone who’s been sewing for a while. If you’re intermediate level you should have no trouble with this.

Construction Notes: I made a muslin to check the fit. It went together pretty readily, but I noticed that the bust point on the pattern was really high:

What the Whut?

The pattern bust point marking is 8 inches from the shoulder line. I checked it against the printed pattern to make sure I didn’t make a transfer error. Nope. 8 inches. I don’t know anyone over about age 10 who has a bust apex 8 inches below the shoulder line.

I tried the muslin on to see if it mattered, and there was a slight drag line between the bust point and the armscye, so yes, it does make a difference, especially if you are large busted. I made a small FBA, mostly to drop the bust point down to where it should be. Drag line gone. I also shortened the sleeves about 5/8 inch, which is not unusual for me with Vogue patterns.

Vogue recommends lightweight fabrics like crepe de chine or charmeuse for this pattern. Because my silk crepe was heavier than recommended, I made some modification to the construction. They have you use French seams for the sleeve and side seams. I did a mockup to see what I thought of it with my 3-ply crepe.

There’s 4 layers of fabric in a straight seam like this.

With this fabric, that would put 8 layers of fabric into the seam at two points – where the yoke joins to the front and back. That’s a lot of bulk, so I decided instead to use standard 5/8 inch seam allowances and finish the raw edges with a 4-thread overlock.


This is a judgement call. If I had used a georgette or charmeuse, the French seam would be great, and would give an elegant finish. But my fabric was heavy enough that I think it would have been a bit of a disaster. I heartily recommend doing mockups with scraps when you are dealing with situations like this.

The pattern recommends using fusible interfacing. I decided instead to use sew-in interfacing. The Vilene that I used is nice and crisp, but I wanted to avoid bulk in the seams, so I cut both the Vilene and I also cut silk organza. I stitched the Vilene to the organza just outside the seamlines. I trimmed the Vilene close to the stitching, leaving just the organza seam allowances. Voila, less bulk!

Stitched Vilene to organza on the bottom, Vilene trimmed from the seam allowances on the top.

I used purchased pearl buttons for the front closure

I made self-covered button cufflinks. I fused a scrap of lightweight interfacing to the silk to give it a bit more support and to make it easier to cover the buttons.

Likes/Dislikes: I love this pattern! It was a pleasure to sew, and the fabric was a joy to work with. The pattern is beautifully drafted and goes together without a hitch. Do test runs of your seams to see how the French seam works with your fabric.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes I would, and yes I do! This is another winner from Vogue and Paco.

Conclusion: A beautiful classic, something that I will wear for years to come. At some point I’ll get a shot on me, but here it is on Shelley:

Happy sewing!

Not Much Sewing Going On Around Here

Man, the winter doldrums have hit hard! Since I got back I have made a total of two things. I copied a Calvin Klein dress for my friend Renee. That dress is one of her favorites, and she asked if I could make her one from (sold out, sorry) Big Bold Chevrons ITY Jersey. It’s a perfect colorway for her, and she loved the bright and graphic print.

On the left, the original CK dress. On the right, the copy made by tracing off a pattern.

I simply traced her dress to create the pattern. The design couldn’t be simpler – it’s a close fitting tank top maxi dress with a flared hemline – more flared than any of the patterns I have without being overwhelming. It’s kind of nice because it gives a lot of freedom of movement to the legs. The pattern is two pieces, and I bound the neckline and armholes with Beyond Basic Black ITY Jersey. The order of construction was:

  1. Stabilize the shoulders with scraps of fusible interfacing.
  2. Stitch the shoulder seams.
  3. Stitch the side seams.
  4. Apply binding to neckline and armholes.
  5. Hem

Ta daa! A dress that took less than 3 hours from starting to trace the pattern to finished garment. I shipped it off to her last week so hopefully she’ll have it soon.

I had enough fabric left over that I decided to make myself a top. This time I did another StyleArc Cold Shoulder Top. Everything is the same as the Last Time I Made This Pattern. I did make sure to carefully place the pattern on the chevrons, to avoid any arrows pointing to the wrong place. Here’s a front/back shot on Shelley

This is one that DEFINITELY looks better on a real person than on Shelley

I haven’t decided what I want to work on next. I need some more knit tops, but I’ll make those from my go-to long sleeve tee, the Ann Tee Top from StyleArc. That’s not really worth a blog post. I also am inspired by Tany’s version of Paco Peralta’s Vogue 1527 Blouse, so I may start making a muslin of that.

So that’s what’s new here. What have you all been sewing?

Pattern Review: Vogue V1527 Paco Peralta Tuxedo Jacket

First up, I hope all my friends who celebrate it had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! It was delightful to have the kids home. Both our boys were off from college all week, so we got to spend lots of time with them. Last night was really wonderful, because a bunch of their friends came over and we made homemade pizzas. The house was filled with laughter and happiness.

Second, this is a long post, so grab a cuppa or a glass and settle in. And just to add the normal disclaimer, Paco is a very dear friend. I bought this pattern without any urging from him, and I get nothing from anyone for doing this review. So here we go!


Pattern Description: From Vogue Patterns’ website, “Semi-fitted lined jacket has princess seams, single-button closure, shawl collar, in-seam pockets, two-piece sleeves, back vent and contrast inset. Loose-fitting blouse has collar extending into tie, back yoke extending into forward shoulder seams and French cuffs. Semi-fitted skirt has back invisible zipper.”

I made the jacket- though I refer to it as the tuxedo coat.

Sizing: 4-18. I made the 12.

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Ralph Lauren Wool Double Crepe – Black for the body, Silk/Wool Satin- Black for the contrast lapels, Iridescent Rayon Twill Lining – Ruby for the lining.

BTW – we’re having a huge Moving Sale at Gorgeous Fabrics right now, and almost everything is 40% off store-wide. Just sayin’…

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Reliable iron and ironing board, sleeve board, shoulder stand, ham, silk organza press cloth, clapper.

Needle/Notions Used: Buttons that my dear friend Rosie brought back from Paris for me a while back. Hair canvas interfacing that was in my stash (not sure where I got that one from, sorry), 1/2 inch Tailor’s Set-in Shoulder Pads, sleeve heads that Paco sent me ages ago, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Pretty much anything from The Pressinatrix, Make the Lining First, Using Pins to Mark Start/Stop Points, How to Use Sleeve Heads and Chest Shields, Setting a Sleeve into an Armhole.

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

How were the instructions? Not great: I had several issues. I’ll send this list to McCalls to let them know as well.

Problem 1: There are 8 pages of instructions. I got pages 1/2, 3/4, 5/6 and another 5/6. I didn’t get 7/8.

Whoops
Whoops

I understand from several friends who have this pattern that they had the same issue. Paco sent me a picture of the last two pages of instructions, and I’ll ask McCalls to send me a copy of the PDF so I have a complete set.

Problem 2: The instructions and pattern markings conflict on the front interfacing.

So which is it? Interface the whole front, or just interface the facing?
So which is it? Interface the whole front, or just interface the facing?

The cutting instructions tell you to interface the entire front piece. But the pattern piece, and the illustrations in steps 3 and 5 all indicate that you only interface the facings. The ultimate answer to the question, “Well, which is it?” depends on your fabric and interfacing. In my case, I knew I only wanted to interface the facing. But that’s because I know what I’m doing.

Problem 3: The instructions omit one small but potentially crucial step. After step 8, clip the seam allowance to the stitching line at the small dots and press open. If you construct the buttonholes and follow the illustrations as written you’ll block the hole.

Another whoops
Another whoops

Problem 4: The instructions don’t explicitly tell you to hem the sleeves. They have you baste the sleeves , then they tell you to attach the lining to the sleeve at the hem.  This will give you a wibbly wobbly hem, especially after putting the jacket on and taking it off a few times. I hemmed the sleeve attaching the lining to it. Doing this will give you a crisper finish that will withstand wear and tear better.

Much as I love Vogue Patterns, I’m going to lay the blame for this at their feet. I’m pretty sure Paco didn’t write the directions, and even if he did, someone at Vogue should have caught the discrepancies before publishing them.

Construction Notes: I Made Two Fitting Muslins to get the fit the way I want. It was pretty good out of the envelope, but to make it better I did a FBA

This is a cleverly disguised princess line, so it's pretty easy to adjust
This is a cleverly disguised princess line, so it’s pretty easy to adjust

and I added about 1 inch around at the waist, sigh… Other than that, I didn’t make any major sizing changes.

I inserted sleeve heads to support the shoulder/sleeve.

Top: inside. Bottom: outside
Top: inside. Bottom: outside

After making the buttonhole, I decided that I didn’t want a small button. Rather, I wanted a statement button, so I closed up the buttonhole and I used a snap closure and stitched the button on. (Yah, I know – it’s a men’s-style close. Sue me.)

Good lord, Black is hard to photograph!
Good lord, Black is hard to photograph!

I used the smaller buttons (which fit through the buttonhole) on the sleeves. Here’s a picture of the buttons so you can see the details.

Couture Buttons!
Couture Buttons!

Likes/Dislikes: Instructions aside, I LOVE this pattern! The lines are beautiful, it makes me look long and lean. It’s fabulous. Period.

The dislike is the instructions. That’s fixable. As long as the pattern is well drafted (it is!) and the fit is reliable (it is!) you can work around the instructions.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I probably won’t do it again. How many of these does one need? But I am saving this in case I change my mind, and I DEFINITELY recommend it. This is one that will stretch your abilities and give you a beautiful result. Make a muslin, that’s my biggest recommendation.

And of course, now that I’m thinking about it, I do have a pink duchesse satin that would look fabulous in this design for Easter. Maybe with some of the silk satin left over from my Wedding Gown Refactor as the lapels. Hmmmm…

Conclusion: A great pattern. Keep in mind the instructions issues and power through and you be rewarded with a great garment! Here are pictures on Shelley. I’ll get pictures on me later this week.

Front
Front
Had to overexpose the back to get any detail, and still...
Had to overexpose the back to get any detail, and still…
Side view – love this sleeve!
Overexposed to show the seams
Overexposed to show the seams
And the subtly contrasting lining - love it!
And the subtly contrasting lining – love it!

I am so happy with this jacket! Hopefully I haven’t put you to sleep. And as a parting shot, here’s Hoover saying “I like the holiday season.”

It's a dog's life
It’s a dog’s life

Happy sewing!

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month

We’re almost halfway through October, and it’s time for a PSA. This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you are a woman over age 40, PLEASE make sure you get an annual mammogram. I know, I know – there are conflicting opinions about whether it’s worth it because statistically the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer if they have no risk factors doesn’t justify it.

Well, you’re looking at one who WAS diagnosed, at age 48, with no risk factors. So remember those three books in increasing order of thickness: “Lies”, “Damned Lies” and “Statistics”. Please, get an annual mammogram.

A dear friend asked me to send her links to my blog posts during chemo, for a friend of hers who is going through it right now. I fervently hope that none of my readers ever have to endure it, but if you do, maybe my experiences can help some:

Cancer, Chemo, and What I Wore

Cancer, Chemo, and What I Wore Part 2

Cancer, Chemo, and What I Wore Part 3

Cancer, Chemo, and What I Wore Part 4

After all was said and done, hopefully forever, I donated all my wigs back to the hospital for folks who need them and can’t afford them. Actually, not all. I still have the pink wig and I keep it as a talisman. I can’t say it enough – please get an annual mammogram if you are a woman over 40. They save lives. I know.

Stay healthy, and happy sewing
Ann

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.
Continue reading Pattern Review: StyleArc Cold Shoulder Top

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

Pockets? Or No?

What has it got in its pocketses? -Gollum in
What has it got in its pocketses? -Gollum 

I posted a link on the Gorgeous Fabrics Facebook Page to an interesting article titled “The Politics of Pockets” (click on the title to open the article in a separate tab). It gives interesting insight into the history of pockets, and the fact that until relatively recently (the early 1900s) pockets were a rarity in women’s clothing.
Continue reading Pockets? Or No?