Hi Everyone! I do need to apologize – a whole month has gone by and I haven’t posted a thing! I have been up to things – even sewing related things! First up was the SAGA Needle Arts Retreat in State College Pennsylvania. I wish I had pictures for you, but was in Board meetings most of the time. I will report that a great time was had by all. The classes looked fantastic and I did get a chance to sit on Gail Doane’s Beautiful Bias class. I am hoping to put some of those lessons learned to practice this week!
I returned home from the retreat and my husband and I flew out the next day to St. Lucia! It was breathtaking and a wonderful, relaxing few days celebrating 25 years! Once back from our vacation, it was off to the south to pick up my younger daughter from her first year in college. On the way I was able to reconnect with some friends in Virginia.In between, I have been cheering my son on as he rows,and finally thanks to the beautiful spring weather we have been having the garden is planted and I am working my way around the yard trying to prune our bushes! I haven’t completely abandoned my sewing room and do have a quick project to share with you.
It is Vogue . You might recogize the fabric as the lining fabric from my coat. I cut out my lining and had some fabric left over – just enough to cut out this Vogue pattern in the sleeveless version. It is surprising how little fabric this pattern takes considering it is a peplum top. It was a quick surprise for my middle daughter. The pattern goes together quickly and she loved it. The pattern is very fitted through the bust and I had to let it out a little for her. I also lowered the bust darts which go up quite high. Overall I love the pattern and hope to get one made for myself soon! Don’t forget to check in on Pink Hollybush Designs! New patterns including ones from Sewaholic and Judith Marquis are on their way as well as some new fabrics!
The New Pattern from Sewaholic has arrived! It is the Robson jacket pattern – a classic trench coat. The coat features a rounded collar and lapel, princess seams and front pockets. It is double breasted with storm pickets. and epaulettes for a classic look. The coat is unlined and the inner seams are bound with bias tape for a clean finish. It closes with buttons and a fabric tie for an hourglass silhouette. I have to admit the thought of making a trench coat seams like quite an undertaking, but I read through the directions and each step is thoroughly explained. This won’t be a quick project, but by following Tasia’s directions, and working through step by step, you can have a terrific coat with classic style that will bring you may years of wear!
By the way, if you have looked for the other Sewaholic patterns at Pink Hollybush and wondered where they all went to, everything is back in stock!
I love the 1060s pattern I am using for my spring coat. It has separate pattern pieces for the facings, interfacing and lining pieces! You have to love that! My one complaint is that it doesn’t have a two piece sleeve. I think a two piece sleeve will make for a more comfortable coat especially since my fabric choice is a rather firm textured cotton.The solution is to draft a two-piece sleeve. I am using the directions from The Pattern Making Primer by Jo Barnfield and Andrew Richards which I received as a Christmas present from my family. I am beginning with the traced off sleeve pattern piece. Make sure to label the sleeve front and back using notches.Fold the pattern piece so the underarm seam allowances overlap (thus eliminating them for the time being) and fold up the hem allowance to eliminate that as well.
Measure in 1 inch from from the side at the underarm level and 1/8th inch in from the side bottom edge. Draw a straight line connecting these two points. These are the seams for your two pattern pieces. Do this on both sides.
Here you can see the lines I have drawn. Now measure your arm and determine the distance from your wrist to your elbow. Measure up from the bottom of the pattern and draw a line horizontally across the pattern at this point. On the back sleeve, measure 3 1/2 inches on either side of the elbow line and mark those points on the new back seam line. On the front sleeve, measure 6 1/4 inches on either side of the elbow line and mark those points on the front sleeve seamline.
Here you can see my elbow line as well as the points marked at 3 1/2 inches and 6 1/4 inches. Now from the back sleeve, cut along the elbow line to the front sleeve seam line, but don’t cut through. Pivot the bottom of the back sleeve down by 3/4 inch and tape in place.
Cut up the seam lines creating two pattern pieces.
Notice my mistake – I cut through the front seam line when I was cutting on the elbow line so my undersleeve is in two pieces! you don’t want to do that. Make sure to mark your back seam and front seam. Then separate the two pattern pieces, tape your sleeve pieces onto pattern paper or newsprint and trace around you new pattern pieces. Add all markings. Don’t forget we eliminated the side seams and folded up the hem allowance. Unfold the hem allowance before tracing the new pattern pieces, and then add side seams to your sleeve patterns.
Here are my new side seams! The back side that we spread by 3/4 of an inch will need to be eased 3 1/2 inches above and below the elbow line and the front side seam slightly stretched 6 1/4 inches above and below the elbow line as it is sewn. There is no need to add a seam allowance to the sleeve cap because we never eliminated the seam allowance there in the first place. I will have more photos of the coat with its two piece sleeve as it is sewn!
Here is the inspiration – a $30 coat I picked up at H&M last fall! I love this coat! If I am going to gush all over a piece of clothing you would think it would be something fancier, more expensive or a designer original. This coat just has a perfect fit for me. Besides that, it is a perfect length to go over a dress but also looks great with a pair of pants. So I decided a needed a spring version – something in a bright and cheery color. I also have been reading Gertie’s Sewing book and wanted to try a little tailoring. I looked at the big pattern companies with no luck as well as several of the smaller ones. Then I thought to check Etsy and eureka! I struck gold with a vintage 1960s McCalls pattern!
I found another pattern that was even closer to my coat complete with princess lines, but the pattern was more expensive, smaller and I wasn’t sure the princess lines would work as well with my textured fabric. Speaking of fabric, I picked up this wonderful textured cotton at Sawyer Brook last fall when I dropped by their warehouse – definitely worth the trip if you are in the area! The lining is a fun polyester I picked up a JoAnns.
Here is a close-up of the red fabric where you hopefully can see the texture.
I did a quick pin fitting to see if I was close to my original and it looks great! I will have to lower the dart but otherwise this looks like a great match!
I am trying to think spring even though is has been drizzling all day and the grayness is so thick it doesn’t seem like daylight ever arrived! My children had a favorite Toot and Puddle book when they were younger that described this as “mud season” – that necessary time before the spring begins to arrive and the snow is melting ever so slowly and the whole world is wet. I spent the day working on a spring coat – info on that coming next week, but wanted to type up a review of Simplicity 2702. I made this tunic, View D, last spring and just never got a blog post done. It is a great transition piece and carried me through many of those in between days. I made it from Blue Danube Rayon Paisley fabric from Pink Hollybush, it was great to just throw on with a pair of khakis and was as comfortable as can be. Here is a close-up of the neck-line. The pattern is straight forward and easy to follow. It is a great pattern to try when you need something that doesn’t require a lot of fitting finesse! I made the size 10 with no adjustments. My only caution is that there are 7 inches of ease in the bust! The picture of the model on the cover makes it look like it is more fitted than it is. This ease is of course, why you don’t need to worry about fitting issues, but I don’t think I would like this pattern made in any type of even slightly crisp fabric. If you just want a top to throw on and go during the spring in a rayon, cotton voile or gauze – this is the pattern for you!
I have to admit I probably wouldn’t have given this pattern a second look if it weren’t for seeing it made up on Goodbye Valentino’s Blog - it was just so pretty on her. The pattern photo as well as the pattern drawing did nothing for me. But after having made and worn it, I just love it and will definitely be making it again for summer in a short sleeve version!
Here is a close-up of the side ruching detail. So what is so special about this dress? First, everyone tells you that the wrap dress is flattering to everyone, but I promised myself several years ago as I deposited a wrap skirt in the Goodwill bag that I would never own a wrap item again. Let’s just say there was a wardrobe malfunction involving the wrap of the skirt that could have been much worse if not the for the fact that I was wearing a slip and leave it at that. This dress is a faux-wrap. You have the wrap styling without the wrap danger! The skirt wont’ fall open when you sit down, and the v-neckline won’t gape apart when you bend over.
The neckline is also a nice height – no need to raise it. I did add a snap just to hold it in place which is easy to do inconspicuously with the fold-over knit finish. Also, the skirt has pockets! We all love pockets. Did mine look like the pattern envelope? I lengthened my sleeves and skipped the cuffs since I wanted a long sleeve version for winter. I also skipped the collar, but will probably include it in my summer version. Finally, I went for a self-fabric sash rather than the belt.
Is there anything I will change the next time around – yes – because you always learn things! I cut a 10 but skipped the FAB (I usually do a FBA to a 12) and even with that the bodice was on the large side. I took in quite a bit on the side seams. Also, the pattern doesn’t include any directions to stabilize the diagonal neckline and it is easy to stretch it out while making the fold-over finish. Next time I will try stabilizing it first. Give this pattern a try – you won’t be disappointed!
I know this is a sewing blog, but one, sometimes we need a bread, and two, Barbarb Meager, a wonderful smocking teacher, insists that chocolate is necessary to sew properly. These muffins started out as pumpkin muffins that I was whipping up to have with dinner. I thought I would try a new recipe. I have a muffin cookbook that I have had from college and although I have made many of the recipes in the book, all with good success, I might add, I had never made the pumpkin muffins. I have made pumpkin muffins before – I just always used the recipe from another cookbook. As I was looking through the list of ingredients, I noticed the recipe called for a whole can of pumpkin for 12 muffins. This seemed like a lot of pumpkin to me. My other muffin recipe uses half that amount and my pumpkin bread recipe uses one can for two large loaves. But at that point all I thought was “Great! An opportunity to get more pumpkin into my guys. ” My guys are not fans of squash or sweet potatoes of any kind.
Well long story short, the entire batch had to go into the garbage. One can of pumpkin is definitely too much for 2 cups of flour. No matter how long they cooked, they still weren’t done inside. Instead they deflated when they came out of the oven and there was half baked pumpkin mush in the middle. When my son came down to dinner, I told him we had bread instead and he was disappointed, commenting that the whole house smelled so good. So after dinner I started again – i didn’t have any more pumpkin, and the following recipe certainly isn’t as healthy, but the next morning both my guys were pleased when they bit into their muffins and found a Hersey kiss inside! Enjoy!
Chocolate Surprise Muffins
- 2 cups flour, can be half whole wheat
- 1 Tbls. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 12 Hersey kisses, unwrapped
Heat the oven to 400F. Stir together the first 4 ingredients. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg, milk and butter. Stir just until mixed. Grease a 12 muffin pan and fill each muffin half full. Add a Hersey kiss to the center of each muffin. Top the kiss with the remaining dough, covering up the kiss. Bake for 18-20 minutes until top is slightly firm to the touch and edges are golden. The inside will not be firm, but a chocolatey gooey mess! Let cool and enjoy! Now go get some chocolate and get back to sewing!
A few months back I mentioned this great find Dressmaking, the Compete Guide to Making Your Own Clothes by Allison Smith. The book is a wealth of knowledge with step by step pictures. There are also several free patterns available for download on the DK website. The book then shows you how to make several variations from the patterns. I used the A-Line skirt pattern to make a skirt for each of my daughters and now used the pencil skirt pattern to make a skirt for myself.
I was very pleased with the pattern and do plan to use it again. I love that it has a very modern look (or maybe I should say retro) with a hollywood waist instead of a waistband. As I wore the skirt throughout the day I did feel the front waist was creeping up a bit. A comparison with a ready to wear skirt that I own whose waist fits perfectly, showed that the pencil skirt’s waistband could be shaped slightly lower at the center front. Or it could just be that I need to do a few more sit-ups! At this point, I am blaming the waistband and will shape it slightly differently for the next skirt. I don’t consider that a negative of the pattern – I am just trying to tweak the pattern and get the perfect pencil skirt fit for me! Do take a look at Dressmaking by Alison Smith, you won’t be disappointed.
That is the view from my garage – 30 inches of snow and much more where the drifts have settled! Would you believe we shoveled last night and this is what faced us in the morning? I was hoping to get some serious sewing in today but will be helping my husband get the driveway cleared instead. This would be the weekend my now 16 year old son is staying at a friend’s house! All this after Punxsutawney Phil said we would have an early spring!
Besides sitting in front of a roaring fire, the only way to handle this is to plan some spring sewing because spring will come again – I hope. First up are these inspirations from Anthropolgie. I love how they have dressed up a simple tee. Spring dressing for me often means a pair of jeans and a cute top and these fit the bill. I have a great knit in my stash that is solid on one side and striped on the other that I think would work perfectly with the cross-over version of Vogue 8536 and would be close to the navy and blue Anthro top. I could see using the stripe for the top shoulder piece as well as the cuffs.Then there is this Anthro henley top. I know I could make one, but with sewing time being limited, I am hoping I can pick up a cheap henley somewhere and just add my own trim!
Next up – Vogue 8815. This top has been made by everyone and I know I am late to the party but I always thought the peplum would make my hips look bigger. Well I tried one on the other day at Ann Taylor Loft and it was a cute as could be – so I definitely need one for the spring! I love how it is paired here with a pencil skirt – I will also have to keep that in mind!
I already made this New Look Pattern in the long sleeve version – pictures and a review coming soon – and think I need a spring version!
. I even found this fabric on Emma One Sock that I think would be terrific. I know it is loud, but the new spring fashions are all about color and in the middle of winter, color is what you need!
Don’t you just love it! Well I have put off the inevitable for as long as I can – off to shovel! Keep warm and think spring!
I know it is February, so why on earth am I talking about Christmas gifts. Well sometimes family, the holidays and sickness can waylay the best intentions but in the spirit of better late than never – here are my two favorite sewing gifts from this past Christmas. First up are pattern weights from my daughter.
Yes, those are pattern weights and aren’t they fun? Sewing is always fun, but this is a way to add even a little more fun into your sewing time. The weights are made by sewing 4, 2 inch square pieces of fabric together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance to form a 3 1/2 square. Sew two 3 1/2 inch squares together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance to form 3 inch square finished fabric weights. Stuff the weights with bulgur or rice. Don’t forget to add a bow, because everything is better with a bow!
I also received a beautiful needle and sissors case from my friend Julie. It is made from a beautiful soft blue silk with yellow roses on the front and my monogram on the sissors holder.
Here is a close-up of the monogram. As you can tell, it was a wonderful Christmas around here! Now I am off to sew with my pattern weights and needle case!