Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Inspiration - The Vertical Lines of Valentino Fall 2016

I love looking at fashion show pictures of different designers.  It is such a great source of inspiration.  One of my favorite designers is Valentino.  The designs are so elegant, classy and full of different design elements.  With any collection, there is a general theme or design element that you will see throughout the collection.  Some elements are adacious while others can be as simple as a color.  Often, one design element is a combination of several little details that create a look or style, whether it is vertical lines of intricately worked beads and embroidery.

For my current work in progress, I focused on a very simple design element that I saw throughout the entire collection.  That is vertical lines.  The vertical lines are in many of the garments; they are translated into seams, trims, beads, and patterns in the fabric.  Here are a few garments for the Valentino Fall 2016 collection.

Parting Shots:  My Work in Progress, Simplicity 1011 with 3/4 sleeves.

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

McCall 7465 and Mood Reptilian Modal Jersey

M7465 - Not the best picture - It's freezing outside.

M7465 - Yes it is starting to snow and I'm freezing

I love animal print fabric.  Mood Fabrics is a great store to find all kinds, from birds on twill to luxury leopard faux fur.    On one of my hunts for something green or teal, I found this beautiful  teal/oak leaf reptilian modal jersey,  This lightweight modal jersey has a very soft hand and is perfect for a simple dress, top or even lounge wear.

I decided to make a simple pullover dress, McCall 7465, which I lined the skirt for an extra layer for modesty.  The drape of the fabric is great for this style of dress.  It's movement is fluid and it lays close to the body.

As for the simple dress, it is described as - pullover dress with close fitting skirt has neckline, sleeve and skirt variations.  A, B:  Batwing sleeves and cowl neckline.  C, D:  short dolman sleeves and scoop neckline.  A, D:  Ruching on one side of skirt.  It is available in sizes 6-22.  I used size 16 only lengthening the skirt by a inch or so.

The illustration is spot on.  I made view B.  There was nothing difficult or confusing about the instructions or construction of the dress.

My likes:

  • Fast and easy to make.  It took me about two hours to make.
  • The drape neck and the ruching.  Next time I'll make view D.
My dislike:
  • The bodices is a little short for my taste.  I'll lengthen the next one by a inch or so.
  • No  pattern lining for the bodice.  
This is a fairly quick and easy dress to make.  I recommend it to all level sewists, and I also highly recommend this beautiful modal jersey.
M7465- Okay now it's time to run for cover.

Happy Sewing!


Friday, February 3, 2017

Simplicity 1371 - Cute Little Top

Surprisingly, I was able to cut a top and head wrap from the African waxed print fabric remnant.  It was just enough to cut Simplicity 1371, view B. This is a top I planned to make a few years ago.  I started out trying to match the  diamond motifs.  In some areas the match up was close, but not quite.  So, for this It was impossible to match the print, as the diamond motifs were many different sizes.

Top B is a princess seam fitted top with halter like straps and side zipper.  This is the only view I've made thus far.  The pattern comes in sizes 4 to 20.  I used size 16 with modifications.  The drawing and the photos are true illustrations for how the top looks.

The instructions were easy to follow, and I saw nothing confusing in them.  In the guide sheet, the back straps are attached straight instead of a slight angle. They should be angled so they lie flat against the back.

I like the style of the top, especially the neckline.  The princess seams also make it easy to make adjustments, which I almost always need to make.  I do not have any dislike.


  • FBA - I made my usually FBA slightly different.  At the fullest of the bust area I made two slashes instead of one for a better fit.
  • Swayback adjustment making a tuck at the lower back and adding that same amount at the bottom of the back pattern pieces.
  • I installed a back zipper instead of the recommended side zipper.

S1371 - Sorry the pattern is a little crinkled, the iron was too hot.

I will definitely make this again.  This is my wearable muslin.  I really didn't want any of the African waxed clothe to go to waste.

This pattern is not difficult, but may require some adjustment as this top fits close to the body.  It's a cute top and I do recommend it to others.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Vogue 1232 - Not Your Typical African Wax Print Skirt

This was a fun project.  I enjoyed researching possible skirt styles and the sewing process.  For months I've thought about making something with an African wax print fabric.  So when I received the e-mail  about the January challenge, it was a welcomed surprise.  Perfect in that it would helped me to decide on a garment to make.

My print, of course, was this beautiful orange, green, and blue clothe with a diamond motif.  The fabric was so easy to work with. It presses with the slightest of ease.  I actually finger pressed the hem as I sewed it with no trouble at all.  The clothe is smooth to the touch and has a lot of body.  Perfect for the drape of the skirt.  There are several beautiful prints and colors to choose from.

I follow a few people on Instagram, who post pictures of all types of garments.  Then one day, I saw a picture of Queen "B" in a printed skirt and a striped cold shoulder top.

I liked it a lot and thought it's not your typical skirt.  Of course, I had to bring the sexy down a bit.  But it's definitely a winner.  So I searched through the many boxes of patterns I own and decided to use the skirt of Vogue 1232.

The pattern is described as:  Close-fitting, lower calf at center back length, lined dress has front darts, front and back princess seams, lapped fronts, shaped lower edge, gathered flounce, armhole overlay, collar with collar band, left side invisible zipper, self-fabric flower with large and small petals and pin back, self-fabric belt and thread belt carriers.  It's out of print, but still available on the website.  For my skirt, I used a straight size 16.  No real fit issues.

 Most of the pattern pieces are from shoulder to lower hip area.  So I cut it at the lengthen and shorten line just above the natural waistline.  I chose this location to give me a little more flexibility in determine where I'd like to where the skirt on or above my natural waistline.  The front overlapping panels are about an inch shorter than the other panels.

The majority of my other changes were centered the construction of the skirt.  I decided to omit the zipper converting it into a wrap skirt closing at the side front.

NOTE: There is an error on the pattern guide sheet.  The illustration has the joining of skirt 17 and 18 in reverse.  I sewed french seams on the skirt for a clean finish on the inside.  After sewing the entire skirt together, I attached the lining where the flounce and yoke are sewn to conceal the seam.  Then I based the lining and the skirt together at the top of the skirt.  Instead of a facing or waistband, I attached petersham ribbon to finish the waist.  To finish it off, I sewed a hook, eye, buttonhole, and button for the closures.

I really like how the skirt turned out.  It is a unique style for an African wax print skirt. I don't know if I will make another skirt.  We will see. ;-)

My likes about the pattern:  the flounce and the fitted yoke.  No dislike, other than the confusing illustration for the skirt construction.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed the process of making this skirt.  I'm thinking about making the dress.  I like the style of the dress.  It would look great in a linen or challis.

Happy Sewing!


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Notes of a Patterns - Vogue 9205 Knit Top with Neck Darts

This is just a simple t-shirt pattern with neck darts.  You can probably make it using a t-shirt pattern that you already own.  I guess I could have too, but I didn't want to take the time to make the adjustments.

Anyway, you would think that the darts would add enough through the rest of the top to compensate for other fitting issues that may cause the top to fit too tight around the body.  But when I examined the measurements, I found that it would still be necessary to do a FBA.  I did not to add bust dart given that the top already had six darts for a design element.  Again, I was feeling a little lazy about making more adjustments.  So I made the first one with the bust darts to see how it would look.

The pattern comes in sizes 4 to 26.  It can be used to beef up your wardrobe with staple t-shirts.  And it's not limited to the sleeves that come with it.  You can pair other sleeves with it as well.

One of the things that I like about Vogue simple t-shirt type patterns is that they come with a neckband.  And I've found the fit around the neck is not as wide as some of the other commercial patterns.   For this one I did found the the length of the shoulder seam is too long.  I think I shaved off about 3/4 inch for a better fit.

Below is my FBA on the pattern along with the back adjustments.  I didn't make the adjustment to the shoulder length until after I tried on the top minus the sleeves.  To secure the neck darts, I pull the end threads to the wrong side of the top and tied a knot.  Also, I created a center back seam by just adding seam allowance to the center back.

As you can see the bust dart doesn't look bad.  They provide the needed shaping in the bust area for a good fit.
The sleeves look a little wacky, but they are fine.

This is a super easy top to sew, outside of making sure the neck darts are the same length on left and right sides of the top.  I glanced at the instructions, not spending time to read them.  I will probably make several more of this t-shirt.  It's great under jackets and cardigans or by its self with your favorite pair of jeans.

It's easy and sews up really fast.  I recommend it to beginners to advanced sewists.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

New York, New York!

By now, many of you know that I was in  New York to meet up with a few of my east coast friends.  Carolyn posted about our meet up and shopping day last week. I had a great weekend, but a few days later I came down with a very bad head cold. Today I am still not 100 percent but feeling much better.

When I arrived at the hotel on Friday night (1-13-17), I joined Andrea, Gaylen, and Carolyn for dinner.  We had a wonderful visit and discussed how we would shop the Garment Center on Saturday.  Of course, our first stop would be Mood Fabrics.

This was my first shopping experience in the physical store.  Let me tell you, it is huge.  If your in NY, you should check it out.  My fabric haul was heavy.  So I just had them ship it to me.  Our mini shopping spree also included stops at:  SIL Threads, Chic, Pracific Trimming, and Spandex House were I purchased more fabric and other sewing goodies.  It was a fun day of shopping.  There were many, many stores in the area, but too many to stop by in a short period of time.  Carolyn was so good about mapping out some great spots to hit during our day of shopping.

After a very hard day of work, I mean shopping, we  went to Rosa Mexicano for dinner.  A few more ladies join us:  Sheila and Olgalyn.  We had a fantastic time and I couldn't believe the weekend was nearly over.  I wanted to stay for at least two more days.

We made the trek back to the hotel.  Most of the sewing ladies headed back to the homes.  Andrea and I spent one more night at the hotel.

Then on Sunday morning we palled around New York city.  Andrea and parted our ways as I got into the taxi to head for the airport.  I smiled and chuckled as I reflected on the great time I had with my friends.  A special group of friends that I would have never known.  I first met most of them on the internet through blogging and social media.  A lot of bad can be say about the internet and social media, but there is also a lot of good to be say as well.  What I know for sure, these things have made it possible to establish friendships across vast bodies of water hundreds, thousands of miles away.

Parting Shot:  Me pictured with Eric owner of Mood.  Great Guy!

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Simplicity 4076 - The Pattern That Keeps on Giving

I've used Simplicity 4076 at least ten times making the various views, especially the t-shirt view with the gathered neckline.  This is a pattern that keeps on giving.  My latest top made was a much needed neutral top that could be worn with a few coordinates in my closet.  Here it is pictured with a faux fur vest that I got for Christmas.


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