05 January 2017

2016 Sewing Year in Review

This is my second attempt at writing this post.  Blogger had a major meltdown and deleted EVERYTHING I wrote...pictures and all.  I was one sentence away from publishing and then poof.  Gone.  I save religiously too.  Anyway.

Last year, I dubbed my sewing adventures as the "Year of the Turtle."  What's slower than a turtle? 

I sewed a total of 27 wearable garments, one accessory, and a few wadders (not blogged).  I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself.  Last year I sewed 21 garments, so maybe this turtle was slightly caffeinated.

The Stats (wearable only)

By garment:
  • 10 skirts
  • 7 tops/cardigans
  • 3 dresses
  • 2 coats
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 2 jackets
  • 1 messenger bag 
By company:
  • 6 Simplicity
  • 5 New Look
  • 4 McCall's
  • 3 Jalie
  • 2 Burda
  • 1 each of Style Arc, Kwik Sew, BWOF, Hot Patterns, Knipmode, Jamie Christina
  • 1 online tutorial 


Abbey Coat by Jamie Christina:  This is the third year in a row where a coat topped the list of my favorite garments.

I got a chance to wear the coat several times before it turned arctic and I absolutely love it.  Whether worn with jeans, a skirt, or dress, this coat has grace and movement.  My only regret is making functional buttonholes on the front.  The fabric is just too thick which makes buttoning the coat difficult.  Plus, two buttons have already fallen off.  Oops.

McCall's 6884:  Although I made two versions of this pattern toward the end of the year, this is a high favorite.  The fit is fantastic and the style is timeless. I added a 1" band along the neckline of the second version for coverage and to prevent gaping.  I will definitely make more versions in the future.



Simplicity 2447-2365 hybrid:  I had high hopes for this pattern because of my success with Simplicity 2365.  I thought I could use the ruffled front from 2447 with the princess-seamed back of 2365.  In theory, this should work.  But in practice, it didn't.  My fabric (stretch cotton poplin) was too stiff and made sewing it unpleasant.  See the armhole puckers?  Yuck.

Simplicity 1199:  This was a fail mostly due to fabric choice.  The under layer really needs to be made in something light-weight like mesh.  I don't think this style suits my full bust either.

Simplicity 8019:  Every time I look at this skirt hanging in Area 51, I think "you tried it." Something went wrong with the fit and I don't have any desire to fix it.  There are other button-front skirt patterns I can try.

Vogue 1411:  This pattern showed promise, but I stopped working on it because my topstitches started to ravel and I don't know why.  Plus the fabric was too shiny and made too much noise when I walked.  I would show a picture, but I have no idea what I did with the pants.

UFOs carried into 2017
The McCall's trench coat is still not finished and honestly, I should just let it go.  But I can't.  It's going on three years now and I can't bring myself to chucking it.  

Stashbusting Challenge 2016
Last year, I pledged to use 30 pieces of stash and 1o new patterns.  I used 19 pieces of stash totaling 37.625 yards and 11 new patterns.  Half womp?  I'll set the same goal for this year and work hard to meet it.

2016 Sewing Intentions Results
  • make two wool coats:  I made one.  That's half the battle.  Literally.
  • just sew it:  Yaaaaas.  I embraced this intention the most.  Making muslins can be tiring and I don't always have the energy - especially when doing so can zap the sewjo.  I also am getting more comfortable with the adjustments I need to make for certain garments, so muslins aren't always needed.
  • curb the fabric buying:  Yeah wellMy fabric buying is still way down, but it could use more reining in.  Last year, I recorded every inch of fabric purchased and its cost.  I bought 243.806 yards of fabric at a cost that shocked me. I know a lot of it was retail therapy, but still. 
  • use more stash:  Yep.
  • sew the 6PAC:  Did this too.  The last several garments I made were parts of mini wardrobes:  red/black/white and navy/red/fuschia.  
2017 Sewing Intentions
  •  set fabric budget:  I am limiting myself to $600 to purchase on fabric.  Let's see how this goes.
  • use more stash:  This is an ongoing sewing intention.  I have plenty of nice fabric and it's a shame to let it sit.
  • just sew it:  This worked well last year and I'm going to keep at it.  I'll make muslins when I am not sure about fit/adjustments or the design is complicated.
  • Burda a month:  I tried this a couple of years ago and only made it for two or three months.  I have many magazines plus a subscription.  I need to use them!
That's my sewing year for 2016.  I didn't blog as much and can't say that that will change any time soon.  My energy level is all over the place at times and when I finally have some, I use it to sew, do pottery, or go to the gym. 

Thanks to all who continue to read my ramblings.  I hope everyone has a wonderful and peaceful new year.

26 December 2016

Finished: Burda 7942

I need to sew more Burda.  Why it's taken me so long to come to this conclusion I don't know.  This pattern fit nearly perfectly out of the envelope with NO adjustments. o_O

What wonderful sorcery is this?  Okay, so it's not sorcery.  But still.  Folks have always raved about the superior drafting of Burda patterns:  crotch curve, cup sizes, sleeve cap ease, etc.  Save for the sleeve length, this pattern is close to perfection. 

About the expression on my face.  The center front is destined to be wrinkly for two reasons:  (1) the side front gathers and (2) the center front is weirdly curved.  It is just impossible to sew the buttons on without puckers and believe me, I tried.  Five times.  Five.


Maybe I needed more buttons or something.  There aren't many reviews of this pattern and of the ones that do exist, they show a similar wonkiness with the center front - though mine seems to be next level wonky.  Meh.  It doesn't look this bad when I'm wearing it. 

I cut a size 44 and made a 1/2" FBA on the side front panel.  I didn't add the extra length to the center front since that piece is gathered.  I figured I could just not gather as much so that the seam lengths match.  I didn't do a swayback adjustment, though I should have.

(shown with New Look 6274)

The instructions were fine with no Burda surprises. Even the continuous lap turned out okay - despite my struggles with sewing it.

 (right: shown with New Look 6274)

My only regret was not cutting the cuff on the cross grain so that the stripes run horizontally rather than vertically.   They look okay as is, but most of the stripes don't match and I think it would just look better the other way.


Sewing this pattern motivated me to try more Burda woven shirts.  In fact, for mypre-Burda-a-month-2017 sewing challenge, I cut out and started to sew 6-2007-129.

I cut a straight 46 thinking that this would be big enough so that I wouldn't need the 1/2" FBA.  Wrong.  46 is most definitely not my Burda size; the shirt is huge and unsightly.  I'll share my thoughts on this nightmare in a future post.  Suffice it to say, there is a lot of unstitching going on and I may even scrap it.  It looks really good too.  Le sigh.

More on this later...

Up next:  I want to do a 2016 sewing-in-review post, though I need to get pictures of the things I sewed.  

Is anyone else OVER 2016?  I mean, really, this year can fuck right the hell off.  Come on 2017, let's do this!


29 October 2016

Goings On

Long time, no post.  The start of the school semester is always busyPlus, I'm also having a hard time and the stress is taking its toll on me.  Sewing happensBlogging, not so much.

I managed to finish three of the four items from my "upcoming sewing plans" list.  The fourth item is in progress.  Win!

McCall's 6654 (knit skirt) & Simplicity 1072 (knit top)

For the top, I cut a straight 16 and shortened the sleeves two inches.  I didn't do any other adjustments and the fit is okay.  The top is rather boxy, so I nipped it in at the waistline at around 0.75 inches, tapering to nothing at the armhole and hip to give more shape. 

The good

Sewing sequins wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.  Both my sewing machine and serger handled the fabric well.  I used a 70/10 microtex needle in the machine, regular needles in the serger, and sewed slowly.

Since the sequin knit was sheer and scratchy, I underlined it with black jet set (from Joann Fabrics).  Once the two fabrics were hand-basted, I treated the whole unit as one during construction.

The pattern calls for the neckband to be made of the body fabric.  Since I used ponte, there was no way the neckband was going to have enough stretch and recovery to sit flat/flush against my neck.  So I used black cotton rib knit for the neckband, hem band, and sleeve cuffs.  I cut the ribbing 80% of the neckline circumference, without seam allowances and stretched to fit.  I've done this before on previous necklines and found that it works well. 

The bad

In some serged areas, the sequins poke out from behind the knit lining and cause awful chafing.  I need to think of a way to bind this area to prevent the irritation.  Otherwise, I could never wear this top without a turtleneck. 

The meh

I added sleeve cuffs, but I don't think they're wide enough.  Eventually, I will cut off the cuffs and make new ones that are wider to balance with the hem band.  But for now, meh.


The skirt was a an easy and quick sew.  The only thing different with this version is the length.  It is about two inches longer than the others and I am not quite sure why.  I used the exact same pattern pieces.  Hmm...

McCall's 6884 (knit dress)

Originally, I was going to make NL6301.  After making an FBA and a bunch of other pattern adjustments, I chickened out because I wasn't confident in how I redrew the pleats.  Instead, I opted for the simplicity of M6884.

I cut size 16 and did not make an FBA.  I shortened the sleeves 2 inches and made a 2.5-inch hem.  Next time, I'll hem at 1 or 1.5 inches as I think the dress is a tad bit short.  I will also try binding the neckline edge instead of turning under and coverstitching.

I added six inches total to the ties, but they're still not long enough.  On the next version, I will add twelve inches and attach them a bit higher.  The placement dots are too low and cause weird pulling if I pull the ties from back to front.

Burda 7942
I was going to make Simplicity 2599 out of a non-stretch cotton shirting.

But, I wasn't too confident about how the stripes would look on the ruffles and I didn't have enough fabric to cut the ruffles on the bias.  Plus, this fabric leans more blue than grey and didn't quite go with the other fabrics in this mini wardrobe.

So instead I decided to make the Burda pattern, view A.

So far the fit is pretty good.  I cut size 44 and made a 0.5-inch FBA.  I am finally learning my Burda bodice size and am excited to try the MANY other Burda patterns I have.  

There is still lots of work to be done.  I need to sew the side seams (they're pinned in this phot0), attach the continuous lap/cuffs, set the sleeves, hem, and work the buttonholes.  When any of that will actually happen...well...uh...


New Plans

Every once in a while, I get the urge to sew small mini wardrobes.  For some reason, I am feeling the need to coordinate moreNext up is a small five or six-piece set comprising of blues and reds.   

I've already cut another version of New Look 6274 out of this stretch cotton border print.

Eventually, I'll add a few more garments from these fabrics:

 left:  blue floral stretch cotton poplin (skirt)
top (on shelf): navy blue wool suiting (vest)
middle (on shelf): ITY knit (infinity scarf)
bottom (on shelf):  navy/white ponte knit (skirt)
lower shelf:  ITY knit (wrap dress)

Big dreams.  Hah!  That's all for now.  I hope things settle down more, though I am not optimistic. =/

Until next time, peace.



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