19 August 2014

Simplicity 1621; Sweet Linen Dress and Jacket

Here's a cropped jacket, together with the linen dress I recently finished.  Both were sewn, using Simplicity #1621.  The jacket is made from a pale peach, handkerchief linen fabric; the dress fabric is a medium-weight, textured white linen.  The pattern is truly one of the easiest I have ever worked with; all the pieces fit together like a dream.  Difficulty might be found in the construction details, i.e., encasing the seams, self-made bias tape, precise sewing along the edges, hand-stitched hem.  These details were time consuming and tedious, especially because of the nature of the fabric, but well worth the effort.  The finished pieces are feminine and romantic, not exactly my style when all is said and done, but oh so fun to sew!
Sewing detail


17 August 2014

Drawing on linen

This started as a prototype for my Sewing Workshop Mix It Tank Top pattern, a plain white linen top, to check for fit and construction.  It fit and construction was easy enough, but was it ever plain!  What to do?  Doodling on fabric with a black permanent ink marker and colored pencils seemed like a creative alternative to sliding that ugly prototype to the back of the closet where it wouldn't see daylight.  The phraseology "you had me at peek-a-boo" was carelessly scrunched and looked more like "you had meat at peek-a-boo."  Meat!??  That simply wouldn't do, and so I added embellishments in between the wording, not so carefully; it's a bit heavy-handed.  We'll leave it at that.  I actually enjoy wearing this charming, tattooed top around the house, and I have plans to develop this kind of embellishment on future projects.

White linen fabric; same but different

Here's a case of same but different; same fabric, different patterns.  I had bought a whole bunch of this white linen fabric, or might it be a rayon/linen blend, I'm not so sure.  It was intended for a dress that required lots and lots of yardage.  That pattern quickly fell by the wayside and my fabric sat and sat, folded in a heap, a cumbersome and very heavy heap of ugly, wrinkly linen stuff; a storage nightmare.  Well, this summer, I put quilting aside as well as heavy-duty gardening, and engaged in a sewing frenzy.  Here are three garments that I recently constructed, from that white linen fabric.  I still have about 1-1/2 or maybe 2 yards left, but at least it's a manageable piece.

14 August 2014

New Look 6286 - More sewing frenzy

View A
View B

Two versions of the same top; View A in a wild Laurel Burch print; View B with a shaped hemline, in a very sweet, embroidered white cotton fabric.  The simplicity of the design makes for very cute, comfortable summer wear.

12 August 2014

Sewing Workshop Mix-it Top...same but different

Same top (Sewing Workshop Mix It Shirt, Tank andTop), different fabrics.  Quick and easy to sew, a decent fit without much adjustment; this is the kind of pattern I look for.  I chose the tank top version of this pattern.  The ombre polka dot print is 100% cotton; the stripe print is a rayon blend.  I have become adept at applying bias binding to the neck and armholes, thanks to this project.  I also practiced seam finishes, i.e., Hong Kong as well as serged seams.  With these tops completed, I've already moved on to another pattern; part of Christine's summer sewing frenzy.  All these tops?  I call them my house blouses; tops to knock around in and be comfortable in as well.  Can you believe?  It's mid-August and summer's nearly coming to a close.  I'll be thinking about making simple jackets to wear over these tops for fall/winter.  At last, a wearable wardrobe in the making!

11 August 2014

Butterick 5786; Sleeveless Linen Top

Here's a sleeveless handkerchief linen top in black.  This lightweight fabric keeps me cool during these hot summer months; I'm thankful for that.  After I finished this top, I decided to trim 3 inches off of the back of the shaped hemline.  I am only 5'3" tall and the length in the back seemed a bit much.  But I must say, the top hung better and looked nicer with the original length.  I'll be giving greater thought to shaped hemlines in future projects, probably avoiding them for the most part.

Summer Tank Top; The Sewing Workshop

I'm on a sewing roll this summer and have been focusing on simple styles and breathable fabrics, such as linen, rayon and cotton.  Here's a simple tank top from The Sewing Workshop's Mix It Shirt, Top & Tank collection.  I used a rayon blend fabric for the body of the shirt and a good-quality white cotton broadcloth to make bias strips for the neckline and armhole facings.

23 July 2014

Textile Studio Pattern #1213 - Mandarin Shirt Jacket

This simple shirt is done in a twill textured linen blend fabric, with Mother of Pearl square buttons; I added pockets as well.  Splitting my time between gardening, quilting, knitting and other crafty pursuits, sewing clothes sometimes gets put on the backburner.  Whenever I come back around to sewing garments like this one, I remember how much I enjoy sewing.   In fact, this shirt took only a couple of days to sew up; so quick and easy.  It's always been my goal to make an artsy, wearable wardrobe.  I'm especially a fan of artists/designers Diane Ericson and Marcy Tilton and I have purchased numerous patterns of theirs.  Having studied postings on their blogs, I think they'd look at this shirt and see a blank canvas.  I lean heavily toward plain and simple, but I'd like to step outside that box one day and aspire toward a more creative approach, using fabric dyes, painting and embellishment.  Ah well, add that to my list of too many things to do, not enough time.

18 July 2014

Chloe's Summer Dress

Butterick #3888; See & Sew
Back detail
My granddaughter said, "Grandma, I love long dresses."  So I rummaged through my big box of children's patterns and showed her a few.  "This one," she said decidedly.  I'm thinking it was the back detail that captured her fancy.  To make a long dress, I had to add to the length of the dress, plus I added a ruffle, 1-1/2 time longer than the width of the skirt around the bottom to make a lightly gathered ruffle that would reach to the floor.  The bodice is lined and I used some of that fabric to make a covered back button.  All done and in the mail it will go to Idaho.

02 July 2014

Hawaiian print dress in the making...

McCall's 5799
Here's my Hawaiian print dress in the making.  The fabric was an online purchase from the Hawaiian Fabric Mart in Honolulu, Hawaii, http://home.fabricmarts.com/.  The cost of fabric per yard is very reasonable but then, of course, there is shipping/handling to consider if you are a Mainland shopper like me.  Fabric Mart offers 100% cotton as well as poly/cotton blends.  Their variety of Hawaiian prints is staggering.  Most are large prints, as you can see in this photo.  The particular aqua print that I chose has a border print which runs along the selvedge on each side of the fabric.  The fabric is moderately lightweight; therefore, I am glad the dress pattern I selected calls for lining.  My greatest challenges in making this dress? 

1. How to lay out this beautiful but busy print for best effect; 2. The invisible zipper (self confidence issues); 3. Dress lining, not difficult but more work.  These challenges proved to be a non-issue as I went along; however, application was critical for a good finished dress.

McCall's 6123 - tah dah!

01 July 2014

Summer 2014 - McCall's 6123 & 5799

McCalls 6123
McCall's 5799

It feels great to be sewing clothes again!  Here's a black and white top, as well as a Hawaiian print dress that I just completed.  I've had these McCall's patterns for so long, they are probably out of print by now.  Laying out the Hawaiian print to determine the flow of the design on the dress,was well worth the time and effort.  The dress is lined and simply perfect for wear at a summertime gathering.  The black and white print fabrics on this sleeveless top are a good mix; a great top for casual wear.  Each of these sewed up very quickly; you're looking at about a week's worth of work completed.

14 January 2013

There be dragons!

My vest
Kathy's vest
I thought I had already posted this vest...then it was there and then it was gone; me own mystery!  This may be a duplicate posting but, ah well!  I wanted to be sure and include this in my sewing journal, so here it is again, Kwik Sew #3705.  Love this vest for style and fit.  I had made the very same vest for my BFF Kathy, using a tweedy wool that she picked when we visited the garment district in Los Angeles some years ago.  Kat's vest is simply dreamy; she wears it to this day!  But why mine, the red dragons?  Can't really say why I bought this brocade piece to begin with, it's been around that long.  Fabric stash frenzy!  Maybe should have been a purse? or slippers maybe?  A bit bold; however, toned down with crushed black velvet contrasting detail and black satin, the finished piece is actually pleasing to the eye and very wearable.  I especially love that all the fabric for this red dragon vest came from my stash.  tah dah! all done!


13 January 2013

Toddler pa'u hula skirts

Pa'u hula skirt
Here are two toddler-size Hawaiian pa'u (pronounced pah - oo) hula skirts which I made today for the girlies.  The larger skirt is for Chloe Kealohilani and the l'il skirt is for Natalie Makanaaloha, my two youngest granddaughters.  Chloe will wear her skirt to pre-school, as part of a cultural exchange day, to represent the Hawaiian part of her heritage.  Natalie's skirt is just for fun, because she likes to be just like big sis. 

05 January 2013

Oh Henry!

Oh Henry!
And while I sew, Henry is ever on the lookout.  Henry is just a small patootie, but he feels that it's his charge to be on guard while Ray's at work.  He has a little bed near where I sit and sew, and he sometimes naps there, lulled by the sound of the sewing machine.

Artsy wearables; do you think?

Here are patterns that have been sitting in my stash, ones that I purchased with "artsy" in mind.  I haven't tried these yet for the following reasons.  The Park Bench pattern (left) would initially require a good amount of size adjustment and fitting.  The Kimura vest (right) is so sweet but there's a button that joins the two back pieces. Would there be a sore spot if I were sitting in a chair and leaning back?  I'm sure that I can easily overcome these negatives; still, I'll have to give it some thought before giving these a try.

What a girl wants; what a girl needs

What a girl wants
What a girl needs
I'm not a girl anymore, but more like an old gal on the downhill slide (no negativity intented).  Luckily, the downhill slide may encompass 20 or 30 more years of good solid living.  I've not turned into an old hag by any means, but our lifestyle has changed.  Thinking about what I want to accomplish in the sewing room this year, I need to evaluate what for me is a serious situation.  "Time management, baby!"  What do I really need, what do I want to accomplish, do I have time to do it all?
Example:  In Picture A above, there's a frilly-at-the-shoulder top (Vogue 1275).  I want to give those ruffles a try.  Would I wear this?  Probably not.  Will I sew it up anyway?  Probably so. 

I have a bunch of other patterns in my stash that fit this category:  So much fun to sew, some of them stylish, even elegant, but why?  what for?  This Calico Quilter grandma (me) primarily stays at home in the kitchen, in the garden, and at the sewing machine.  Oh, sometimes we do it up (BFF hubby and me), and we do go out from time to time.  We're considered a stylish couple, but we're turning out to be simple folk as we move along. 

See Picture B above?  I need work frocks (no joke)...to wear in the garden, in the kitchen, for just hanging out in.  Dare I make a pair of overalls?  I have a pattern for that, too. 

As some suffer from writer's block, I'm having quite a time choosing what to sew next.  Fun and fancy or practical?    What's a girl to do?

04 January 2013

Chris' Black 'n White Series

Here's a series of black and white print tops I've made over the past several months, with the exception of the zebra print below which I made a while ago.  The jacket, Kwik Sew 3693, is my most recent project.  There are so many assymetrical designs out there, but I especially like this pattern because of the somewhat modified fullness of the jacket which provides for a sleeker fit on my 5'3" frame.  The other tops, from left to right, Vogue 8791, McCalls 6564, and Vogue 1049.

The Vogue 8791 top was made using a linen fabric from JoAnn Fabrics; the McCall's 6564, a Palmer Pletsch pattern, was made from a soft rayon fabric which I purchased online from FabricMart; and the Vogue 1049, a Today's Fit pattern by Sandra Betzina, was made using a polyester/lycra fabric.  Why so many black 'n white tops in a row?  For one reason, there was black thread on my sewing machine and the serger as well, lazy me; another reason, it's part of working my way through a fabric stash that's been piling up (why do I keep ordering more?); and then...it's about... hair color. Oh my : (   For reasons of convenience, exhaustion and sanity, I gave up coloring my hair some time ago.  The end result has been a silvery/white head of hair, just like my mom's used to be.  With that, I've had to rethink my whole color palette, my whole persona in fact.  I'm still working on that; not so bad.  Ray (my BFF hubby) tells me, "You look great, mama!...for your age" (ah, Men; you gotta love 'em).  So there you go; black and white series near completion.  Time to move along.