Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Vogues are Released

The spring Vogue patterns hit yesterday and I hustled over to take a quick peek. The Koos dress (above) has some interesting embellishment, but the muumuu shape would not work on this figure.

I was disappointed that there were no new Marcy Tilton patterns, but moving on. (Boy, what would I do if Katherine and Marcy stopped creating patterns?!?! Perish the thought!)

I have a short shopping list, and wrote this post, thanks to some serious insomnia.

Vogue 9004
I love this top! A must-have. It reminds me, a bit, of one of my favorite Au Bonheur top patterns.
Vogue 1403
Another excellent Koos bag. This has such an unusual shape and provides a great opportunity for fabric collaging. (Though I must admit, I find myself wishing that this bag could hold a laptop, but I see that it can't due to the deep cutout for the handles.)

Vogue 8995
This spring collection has So.Many.Dresses! (As in, more separates, please!) This is one of the few I would consider making. It is similar to the McCalls studded dress that I made, but different enough to purchase.

Vogue 1396
The only other dress pattern I'd consider buying. This Donna Karan pattern intrigues me. I would make a number of changes to make it work on my body (such as narrowing the boat neck and adding sleeves), but I think it has potential.

Vogue 8991
Wow, do I love the sleeves on this Claire Schaeffer jacket! I could get a lot of wear out of a jacket like this, though I wouldn't put the pockets high up like that. With my generous bust, it would look like my boobs were having a slumber party.

Vogue 9013
I am considering this jacket/skirt pattern. Ironically, on my todo list is to draft myself a flippy-gore skirt pattern. I probably still will, as it's so easy to do. The jacket is interesting. I wish I could see it sewn up, as I wonder if the neckline might be so wide as to expose bra straps, but it has potential. I'd lengthen the jacket a bit. I probably won't buy this one right away. I wouldn't wear the jacket with the skirt, by the way - it would be too formal for my job. And, yes, I'm a bit dubious about the neckline.

Vogue 9006
This cowl neck top is another one I wish I could see made up. A cowl neck can be very tricky on a busty figure. The cowl looks best when it doesn't hang too low, placing too much fabric on the bust. And, of course, you don't want it exposing too much, but this one is drawn to suggest that it might be ok. And, look at the back of the neckline - it is constructed similar to a shawl collar where the front cowl extends to CB - this is a very promising detail. (By the way, the back of View A shows back darts into the neck extension and the neck extension is wider than what is shown on view B. I would favor the construction of view A, but made with the sleeves of View B.)
I also like the princess seaming on View A. Views B and C are cut on the bias and, I suspect, that the center panel on View A is cut on the bias. This makes for a nice drape in the cowl.
Yes, this pattern looks very promising!
I have been noticing that gathered sleeves are coming back and the long sleeved version shows this detail. I am definitely long past wearing a gathered sleeve, so I would just lengthen the short sleeved view. It's nice that there are options.

Vogue 9002
While I like the seaming of this top, I am not a fan of flutter sleeves, so I am on the fence about this one. It would have been nice if another sleeve option were provided. This is another pattern where it would be nice to see it sewn up, as I suspect I'd have to narrow the boat neck.

So, what about you? Any patterns you love that didn't make my list? (I realize that my list is skewed to my body type.)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Crazy Legs

Are you ready for some silly?


Then I advise you to STOP reading now.

I took some of the leftover fabric from the Dress->Skirt, and made some polka dot leggings!

(Hey, I like it when folks stare at my legs rather than higher up.)

I used my TNT Style Arc Laura Legging pattern, which I love! This is a very fast project.


I am wearing this with a purchased jacket, but I quite like to wear it as a dress! It has a great neckline.

I love to wear my wild leggings and my wild skirts. Just last week, I was sporting some wild leggings in the nap pod at work.

What?!?! You don't have a nap pod at work?

Maybe take it up with your management tomorrow.

I am working on a stealth project for April Fool's Day. I hope to have a report on that soon.

I'm also sharing with Patti's Visible Monday!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Butterick 5986 - Take Two - A Skirt!

As you may remember, last weekend I made the Katherine Tilton dress, Butterick 5986. Here is the pic after I completed my alterations:

I love the details of the skirt, but I wasn't as happy with the trapeze shape of the loose-fitting dress. To address this, I had removed 2" from the CF seam. I then took two large tucks at the side waist, where a seam would be, if there were a seam.

After these alterations, the dress was ok, but I still didn't love it. It was very comfy, but I knew I would wear it only around the house. One problem is that I used a very "droopy" fabric, and the cowl neckline needs a fabric with a bit more body, so that it drapes, without drooping. But, in general, the dress just didn't feel like "me".

So I decided to chop it off and make it into a skirt.

But first, I removed the side tucks and put the dress back on for more pictures. (And WOW, is it a super comfy dress!) These next two pics show the dress, sewn from the envelope, in a size 16. The only alterations were the removal of 2" from the CF seam beginning from the bust, and tapering of the sleeve from the elbow to the hem.

Definitely not a good look on this busty figure

Long ago, I made a "belt" made from 1" elastic which is handy in these sorts of situations.

I put it on and marked the dress with lots of pins.

I then used a Clover Chalk pen to draw the cutting line. I chopped it along the chalked line.

I measured the waist after cutting. It was 56", which is much larger than my actual waist. (Not surprising, since the pattern is marked as loose fitting.) Because the fabric was so drapey, I didn't bother removing fullness, but I added an elastic waistband.


I LOVE this skirt!

It is comfy and edgy - two qualities I love in my clothing. I will get loads of wear out of this. In fact, DD1 is home for spring break - she attends university in Oregon which is a good 10 hour drive away. She brought a friend and the three of us are hanging out tomorrow. I think I'll wear my new skirt.

And, hopefully, I'll get a tiny bit more sewing in. I have a long todo list!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Dress with Draped Hem - Butterick 5986

When this Katherine Tilton pattern came out I didn't see it as a great look for me.

It didn't help that the model on the envelope obscured her midsection by clutching her arms. What is she hiding? :)

I prefer a closer fit through the torso, rather than an a-line dress that hangs from the bust. When you are busty, and a garment increases in girth from the bust, it looks like you just keep getting bigger.

Not a flattering look for me.

When I looked at the line drawing, it definitely looked loose through the torso.

Then I saw this dress in the Tilton fashion show at Puyallup. It was worn by a busty model and it fit her closely through the torso. I quite liked that look, though I think it was made in a much smaller size than what would have been indicated for her bust measurement.

I loved the asymmetric hemline and the draping of this very Lagenlook-style dress, so I decided to give it a try, hoping that I could fit it more closely to my body.

There are no finished measurements on the pattern tissue and, in fact, the bust point is not marked. This pattern has no side seams, no shoulder seams, and consists of a single pattern piece that extends from center front to center back. That is not strictly true. There are TWO (huge) pattern pieces, but they differ only in the hem shape - there is one for the left side of the body, and another for the right side. The cowl collar is "cut on" - it is not a separate pattern piece.

The best feature of this dress is the draped hem. Make sure that you mark all of the marks at the hem. The marks are labeled A to H, and you will need those marks. Two pleats complete some of the hem, a casing (filled with elastic) completes some of the hem, and the rest of the hem is turned up and sewn. In this last section of hem, after hemming, there is a corner which is turned to the inside and attached to another point on the hem.

The wild hem really makes this dress!

The design of this pattern makes it difficult to determine how a given size will fit. I made a size 16 and it was quite large through the torso. If I make this again, I will make the smallest size on the pattern.

I mentioned that this dress has no side seam and no shoulder seam. This means that the armscye is a hole that you cut into the pattern piece. This can be a bit problematic if you need to narrow the shoulder.

I always have to narrow a Vogue/Butterick/McCalls pattern in the shoulder by 1.5" - 2". You might wonder, how the heck does one modify a pattern where the armhole is a hole cut into the fabric?

I will tell you!

What you do is "move" the hole. For example, to narrow a shoulder by 1.5", you move the armscye hole up (towards the collar/neckline) by 1.5". Make sure you do this on both pattern pieces since there is a separate piece for the left side of the body, and for the right side of the body.

This might be a good garment to make in a test fabric before you cut into the "good" stuff.

For this dress, I used a slinky knit that was gifted to me in a fabric swap of local sewers.

Because the dress was too loose through the torso, I made a couple tweaks to achieve a closer fit:

  • I "scooped" more fabric from the CF seam below the bust.
  • I removed fabric at the side waist by taking a very generous "tuck" where a side seam would have been, if there were a side seam. You can see this effect in the twirling photo below.
Check out the side tuck

I also tapered the sleeve from the elbow to the wrist, removing a couple inches at the sleeve hem for a closer fit.

I did NOT do an FBA on this dress. I certainly didn't need additional width for the bust, and it wasn't needed vertically either, since the hem is already asymmetric.

This dress has only a few seams and is a very fast sew!

With my fit modifications, which removed approximately 18" through the torso, I like this dress. It's very comfy, though I think I would wear it with taller boots next time!

There have been a few more posts about Puyallup 2014! I've updated my list. (I am keeping the list on the Puyallup Inspiration post to keep everything in one place.)

I hope you had a nice St Patrick's Day! I searched my wardrobe for green and I ended up wearing the only green thing I could find, my Swamp Green Mizono top!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

An Ikat-ish Jacket - Vogue 1385

When I went to Puyallup last week, I loved the Sandra Betzina jacket worn Carolyne Cafaro, one of the Vogue executives. The jacket isn't shown on the pattern envelope (it's a blouse pattern), but Sandra made this version as a jacket. She left off the button closure and used a home-dec weight fabric.

So I made one for me!

This fabric is printed to look like an oversized ikat, but it reverses to solid black. It's a crisp fabric, which is perfect to hold the pleating at the neckline and at the bottom of the sleeves.

Given that the jacket has no closures and is unlined, it's a fairly quick sew!

I really love how the collar stands at the neckline. There are 8 tucks sewn around the sides/front of the neckline, but they aren't sewn all the way to the edge. This allows them to "fan out" and fill in the neckline. Lovely.

There are also three tucks sewn into each sleeve.

My only alterations were to add a patch pocket and bust darts. The length of my jacket is exactly the length of the longer view. That reminds me, I also omitted the fisheye darts.


I plan to wear this to work tomorrow. I received such a nice unsolicitation at work recently.

I was wearing my asymmetric blue sweater, but I was distracted because my eldest daughter was in the ER that morning. She was alone in a town near her university, and they kept her for awhile running tests. I was walking to the mini-kitchen, staring at my cell phone and willing it to give me an update, when a colleague walking in the same direction said, "I love your outfit! You dress on the outside how I feel on the inside! Where do you shop?"

My daughter is fine, by the way.

I have added to my Puyallup Inspiration post. I have created a list of blog posts (or similar pages) that relate to Puyallup 2014. If you know of any other information that I have missed, please let me know!

I'm linking up to Patti's Visible Monday. Thank you, Patti!

Friday, March 7, 2014


Yay, it's Friday! I can't wait to do some sewing. Last weekend was all blogging, all the time. Last night I did my taxes. I've cleared the decks!

BMV Sale

Just a few things. First, since going to Puyallup I was waiting for a really good BMV sale on patterns. There was a $5.99 sale earlier this week, but I decided to wait it out. This morning, they announced a $3.99 sale on Vogue, $2.29 on McCalls and Butterick, and $5.99 on Kwik Sew. I fear that the $3.99 sales may be going the way of the Dodo bird, so I jumped on it. (The sale is through March 10th.)

I wasn't the only person who jumped online to take advantage of the sale. As I was perusing patterns, in happy abandon, response time became slower and slower. Then we collectively broke the BMV website for 15-20 minutes. During that time, the site stopped serving up photos, like this:

I envision some IT person in fire-drill mode as the sewists who had attended Puyallup (with new inspiration) ran to fill their carts.


Second, my youngest daughter is returning from her year abroad in about one week!

She is returning to Washington D.C. and will be there for another month. The students will debrief, re-orient themselves to life here, go on a retreat to process the experience, meet with politicians at the White House and leaders from the World Bank. They will be preparing final presentations about the experience and they are even given classes on public speaking. Finally, there is a gala weekend with presentations, parties, food, and a graduation.

I won't be there.

But I am sending a very thoughtfully selected care package for my daughter's return. The clothing they have been wearing is pretty shot, I hear. So I am sending her things like underwear, socks, some tee shirts, stretch jeans. The items I've purchased are either from Uniqlo or the Google store. She has also filled 8 journals, so I'm sending her a new journal. Oh, and one of the most critical things I'm sending is Girl Scout cookies.

I hear they missed Girl Scout cookies.

When I last skyped with her several weeks ago, I asked her what she needed. Underwear? Shoes? What? She replied, "Mom, what I really need is a one-terrabyte external hard drive. Other than that, I'm good. I don't need much." My little geeklet. I sent her a TWO terabyte hard drive, as well as some dress shoes.

This has been quite the year for my daughter. She worked with Aids patients in South Africa. She bungee jumped off the highest bridge in the world. She taught students in India. She toured the Taj Mahal and she rode camels. She lived in Ecuador with a village Shaman. I saw photos of a snake wrapped around her shoulders - and this is a girl who hates creepie crawlies. She hiked the Inca Trail. While in a remote village in Ecuador, she planted trees and washed her clothes in a river. She saw the Killing Fields in Cambodia. She also experienced digestive issues and, in fact, she ended up in the ER twice in India and once in Ecuador - or Thailand - I can't remember, as well as a clinic in South Africa.

I can't wait to hear all about it.

Also in her care package, I included a pair of mommy-made PJ bottoms.

Of course.

I found this rainbow-colored cheetah print flannel at JoAnns. I machine washed and dried it twice. I would have done so a third time to remove more shrinkage, but I was in a rush.

And it (mostly) goes with the tee shirts. I used Burda 3217 - a long out of print pattern. The pattern says it's designed for 5'6" women, and she's about 5'3", so I removed 3" from the leg (in two places, since the leg is tapered). Hopefully these will fit her, but if not, I can use them. ;)

I love this "I Am Here" tee-shirt from the Google store. How perfect for a recent world traveler.

Of course

It doesn't go as well with the grey tee sporting the Google Doodle of the Cookie Monster, but I couldn't resist

If you are interested in learning more about the excellent organization who runs these gap year programs, check out Thinking Beyond Borders.

Great British American Sewing Bee

It's all over the blogosphere, but maybe you haven't heard. They are casting in the New Jersey area for a pilot of the Great American Sewing Bee. I know of several folks who have applied.

I haven't talked about this show, mostly because I just haven't been gobsmacked by it.

I don't care for most of the challenges and am not inspired by most of the sewing.

However, I just finished watching episode 2 of season 2 of the GBSB, and what I do really like (and maybe this is why, in part, the show is so popular) is the humanity displayed by the contestants, the judges, the host, the production people, and the editors.

People are nice. They support each other. They view their wins with self deprecation (and surprise) and they view their failures with humor. They do not build up the suspense of the winner or loser, or subject them to extreme degradation.

THAT is what I like about the show.

I just hope that the U.S. version doesn't eject all of the charm, especially as some of my friends may be on it.

I'm off to work and then, looking forward to a weekend of sewing. Spring has definitely arrived here in SF, so we'll see what project(s) I end up working on. I'm not sure yet and it could go either way.

I hope your weekend is great!