Saturday, May 31, 2008


The Simplicity 2896 pants are done!

And here they are with the jacket from the same pattern that started it all. I love these pants! They are cute, comfortable, and they come all the way up to my waist! I cut out a straight size 18 and made no design changes or adjustments. The fit was great right out of the envelope. I had a feeling this pattern was going to work for me when I took the pattern pieces out of the envelope and saw the huge dart on the back piece. This pattern is made for ladies with a sway back like me! It's the first pattern that I haven't had to make an adjustment to the back waist.

I used a light taupe poly rayon "linen" fabric from Hancock Fabrics. The fabric worked pretty well. I love the weight and the drape, but I will have to be careful what color underwear I wear under these because a bright color is going to show through. If the fabric were just a little bit darker I'm sure this would not be a problem.

The pattern itself was pretty good. I love the large dart in the back and the straight, wide cut to the legs. The pants are have a waist facing- no waistband. You could leave off the carriers and have a nice smooth pair of dress pants. I did find that the pattern piece for the carriers was about 1/8 of an inch too short. I wasn't able to cut all four carriers out of one piece, however, I had cut it out of doubled fabric so I had an extra. I did not like the fly instructions. I ended up using instructions from a different pattern to get the zipper put in. Other than that, everything went together easily. I think I'd like to make these again- the shorts version- if I can find some suitable fabric.

And now that these are done, I've started my next project, a Safari Dress!

I'm using New Look 6815. I started with the orange dress at the top of the picture. I'll be adding the topstitching and the upper pockets from the khaki top. The back of the pattern is plain. It has one pattern piece cut on the fold with two darts. I've already made a muslin in which I split the back through the darts to make princess seams. I also added a yoke to the back. I'm ready to cut my fashion fabric, a linen-look khaki cotton. I just hope I have enough!

I'll be alternating working on the safari dress and Summertime Pink. The smocking is almost done, in fact it should be complete this weekend. I expect construction to go pretty quick. Hopefully I'll have two more finished projects before long!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Smocking Update

So how is the progress on Summertime Pink, you ask?

Well, I managed to get some more smocking done this week. This smocking design is rather deceptive. It is, indeed, an easy design to smock, but it's also rather heavily smocked and is taking more time than I thought it would to complete. That's alright, though. I am enjoying the process and that's what it's all about, right? I finished the bottom and middle sections of the smocking. Only the top needs to be completed now. I will add two more rows of dark pink to the top and some light green. You can see where I already added some light green to the bottom section- right between the dark pink bands. I really wanted to work the green into the design to pick up the green in the fabric and to add a pop of color. The pink and yellow striped fabric on the left will be used to make bias binding for the halter top of the dress and for piping across the top of the smocking. It was purchesed with the dotted fabric- they are coordinates that were manufactured together.
I will probably smock a couple more rows tonight while I "watch" TV- after the sun goes down. Right now, I'm itching to go cut out a muslin of the pants from Simplicity 2896. It will be a quick and dirty muslin- if I can decide which size to cut and whether there's a good chance these pants will be a success I want to get started on the real ones quickly.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Summer Jacket

This is what I've been working on all week. Simplicity 2896- the jacket. I really don't know why it's taken all week, though. It's a really easy, well drafted pattern that goes together like a charm. I must be slow!

I cut a straight size 16 and made no adjustments to the pattern. When I tried it on just before adding the sleeves, I decided that the sleeve seam was going to be too low on my shoulder, so I trimmed off 1/4 inch from the top of the armholes tapering to nothing right above the yoke seam. The fit is just right. I went back and forth over my choice of sleeve, and I finally decided to go with the puff sleeve. The plain sleeves from view B are used as the lining in the puffed sleeve (view C). They really aren't that puffy, and I think the lack of an arm band makes them very comfortable and kind of interesting, too. I know a lot of people shy away from puffed sleeves for various reasons- I do, too sometimes- but these are nice and will work, I think, for a lot of people.

I used a cotton eyelet that I got on sale a couple of weeks ago at Joanns. It's a very light fabric- similar to batiste, but the eyelet embroidery is quite heavy and made cutting and stitching a little bit challenging at times. The pattern calls for a full lining, but I did not want to bother with it so I just used the extra yoke pieces for facings and made a narrow hem. I used silk organza to "interface" the front facings (Yes, the pattern uses a front facing over the yoke facing/lining- kinda weird but it works.) since I was worried a fusible would show through the eyelet. It worked like a charm- just the right amount of body. The buttons are entirely decorative. The instructions would have you sew the buttons on the outside and then add snaps behind them. I did not add snaps. I plan to wear this jacket open and I don't want little shiny snaps sparkling. I suppose I could have used clear snaps, but I don't have any on hand and I don't plan on making a run to the fabric store any time soon, so I'm going to live with the decorative buttons. Trying to put buttonholes in this heavily embroidered, yet lightweight fabric is just a sewing disaster waiting to happen.

I'm really pleased with this jacket. I can't wait to wear it. I plan on also making the pants from this pattern (I have some fabric in the dryer now that will be my muslin) and maybe even the dress. If I can find a suitable drapey fabric, that is.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saturday Smocking Update

Last week I shared that I have started two new smocking projects. The first is well under way. This is Summertime Pink:

I'm using Summertime Blue, from AS&E issue #66 for my dress pattern.

It's a gorgeous little halter dress shown in blue and white polka dot pique in the magazine. I think this dress is just adorable, but I decided to just use the pattern and use a different smocking design. The bullion daisies are lovely, but the thought of making all those bullion loops does not excite me. And even if it did, I can just imagine the Princess catching one on something and ripping a big 'ole hole in the front of the dress!

So for the smocking design, I chose One Fine Day, a cute little geometric from AS&E #72. You can see it in the photo above. This one also features bullion loop daisies, although smaller ones, sprinkled across the smocking. I haven't decided yet if I will make these as shown, or substitute cable rosettes or something else for them. I may not do any embroidery at all. I'll decide when I get the smocking completed. I am just enjoying working on this whenever the mood strikes me.

Finished Projects

Well, I said I'd get around to posting photos of my latest projects, and here they are. First up is Simplicity 3794... Again.

This time I made the skirt without the waistband. I know, I know, I made a big deal about the waistband the first time I made it, and I still think I prefer it with the waistband, but it's fine without it too. What happened was, I laid out the fabric to cut the skirt out, and I realised if I left off the waistband, I'd have just enough fabric left over to make the Princess a pair of capris. And the fabric is so cute, and it will match the white ruffled top from a couple of posts ago.

This pattern is so easy. I didn't even look at the instructions. I sewed my panels together, added a zipper and used bias tape to finish the waist. You could easily make this in an evening. I'll probably make it one more time and then look for another cute and easy skirt pattern.
The next finished item is Simplicity 2923, the new shirtdress.

This is a really cute dress. I love the seaming in the bodice and the sleeves. It's a really unique look for a shirtdress. It went together easily, too. I chose the stand collar because I like the clean simple look of it, the slim skirt beacause I thought it would be a nice look for work and because I have another project coming up with a full skirt, and the flat sleeves. I considered doing the long sleeves because my office is usually only a few degrees above zero, or so it seems, but I decided I really didn't like the long sleeves on the model. And although I really do like the puff sleeves, I have heavy upper arms and I thought the flat sleeves would be more flattering and comfortable.
I bought the pattern in the 6-14 range, thinking the 14 would fit me in the shoulders and it would be easy to add 1/2 inch to the side seams to approximate going up to a size 16. When I checked the finished measurements printed on the pattern pieces I freaked out a little bit and almost threw the pattern away because it looked like I was going to have to add a total of
FIVE inches to the waist to get it to fit! I decided to persevere, and I made a muslin of the bodice adding 1/2" to the side seams, 1/4" to the front (princess) seams, and gaining the remaining 2" by making the pleats shallower in the front and the back. After I tried it on, I decided I don't need as much ease as Simplicity thinks I do, and I redid the pleats the original depth, resulting in a total of 3" added to the waist. After all, I'm going to wear this with a belt cinched around my waist.
In the end, I ended up making the adjustments listed above, a 1" FBA, added 3/4" to the length of the bodice and made a sway back adjustment. I also had to slash the skirt front from waist to hem and add 1/2" of width to match the adjustments I made to the front seams.
After I sewed the skirt to the bodice, I ended up going back and shaving about 1/4" from the side seams at the high hip. The pattern was very curved there- a little bit too much for me- and I had a strange bubble of fabric at my high hip. That's definately not a place where I want to have a bubble! I still think I need to go back and taper the side seam a little more from the hip toward the hem. But it's not too noticable.
All in all, I like the dress. I think it would look great made up in denim with some fancy topstitching to enhance all of the great seaming. But I don't know if I will make it again. I have so many other patterns waiting to be made. Speaking of which, I better get back to the sewing room. I'm in the middle of Operation Straighten Up and Get Somewhat Organized Before Starting the Next Project!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Big Sewing Weekend

This past weekend was pretty good as far as sewing went. I finished Temily #5:

This one is out of lime green polycotton microcheck, smocked with "Make a Ladybug Wish" and trimmed with hot pink microcheck piping. Here's a close-up of the smocking:

This one is made pretty much like the last one- short, puffed, elasticized sleeves and trimmed at the bottom with a one inch ruffle. The Princess loves it. I'm just happy to have it finished. It's been floating around the sewing room for months!

In addition to Temily #5, I finished Simplicity 2923, the new Project Runway shirtdress for me.
I also made another skirt. I'll have photos of those later this week. We're a little bit busy around here this week with 8th grade graduation, high school graduation, a track banquet, etc. It's "that time of year!"

And as if all this sewing wasn't enough, I started not one, but two new smocking projects.

I'll share more details in my next few posts, but these will both be adaptations of sundresses from AS&E. There's just nothing like a cute sundress for a little girl when the weather turns warm.

Wow, I've got a lot to work on. I better go get started. I may be able to get a row or two done before I go to bed!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I've Been tagged!

I've been tagged by Kbenco! (Check out her amazing smocking!) I'm supposed to pick up the nearest book, turn to page 123, and post the 6th, 7th, and 8th sentences. Like Kbenco, I am an avid reader- mostly fiction, but I do sprinkle some non-fiction in here and there. However, the computer is in my kids' room, and none of my books are in here. There are two books close at hand. One belongs to my husband: Indian Yell, by Michael Blake. Unfortunately there is a picture on page 123, and not enough sentences. The other book belongs to my nine year old son and is, appropriately enough, The Frog and Toad Treasury, written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel. It doesn't have eight complete sentences on page 123 either, so here are sentences #6 and #7 and the first sentence from page 124:

There was still no answer.
"Frog, what have I done?" cried Toad.
Then the voice said, "THE GREATEST TOAD WILL NOW..."

Apparently Toad was dreaming, and he wakes up at this point with his friend Frog at his side. My son loves this book. I just love it that he's reading!

Now I have to tag five more people. These are all blogs that I like to read and look at. They all make wonderful things so check them out!

Angie at Quality Time, also known as Jemima Bean.

Juliane at Retro Grace, might be a little bit busy- they have new babies at their house!

Lynn at Sadie's Closet

Cindy of Sew Blessed

Blakely of Rockin Smockin (Love that blog name!)

Check all these ladies out and look at their amazing creations! And hopefully, we'll find out what kind of books they have at hand!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Photo Shoot!

Today we had a photo shoot! Here are some pictures of the finally finished "Cherry Blossom"!

A close-up of the bodice:

The cuffs:

And the sash in the back:

I can honestly say I'm 100% satisfied with the way this project turned out. The Princess likes it, too. She'll be wearing it to school tomorrow!

While we had the camera out and the day was so beautiful, we decided to take some pics of some other recently completed projects.

Flower Power:

Golden Sands (Top):

And McCalls 5306 (Top and Shorts):

Now I'm off to the cutting table- which is really just my kitchen table. I made an unexpected trip to Joann's yesterday (Hancock's was closed when I got there- their loss!) and I picked up a cute print to make a skirt for me, along with something for the Princess, and her brother, the Prince. The Frog Prince! I'm hoping to cut out a couple of things this afternoon that I can sew on in bits and pieces throughout the week.