Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Style Arc Knits

Lisa V-neck tee paired with a knit skirt made in pre-blog days.

Presenting the Style Arc Lisa tee.  I purchased this pattern some time ago (or it may have been free with an order), in a size 16.  It's a straightforward V neck tee pattern, with front, back, and neck binding pieces, easy peasy.

I used the V neck binding method as detailed in Dressmaker's Handbook of Couture Techniques , which is my preferred method.  This method workes nicely and give a clean look, with an overlap of the band at the V.

The fabric, a thinner ITY knit from Fabric Mart, was a PITA to sew the band detail.  I made generous use of Pro Tricot Deluxe interfacing, which helped significantly.  The rest of this fabric will likely become a long knit skirt - no detail sewing!  

The pattern is typical Style Arc, heavier white paper, brief instructions.  What else can I say?

The fit:   I need to order a smaller size (yay!) on the next top pattern I purchase from SA.  The shoulders are too big, by about 3/4".   For the few SA top patterns that I already own, I'll need to do a narrow shoulder adjustment.  It's a nice little top pattern, a wardrobe basic.  I did not do a FBA, however if I sized down, it would definitely be necessary.

Make again?  Yes, probably.  It's a staple.  Once I get the shoulder adjustment made, this can serve as my TNT V neck tee.

Dressed up & dressed down.

Next up is Style Arc's Sailor Sue Palazzo Pants.  Yep, another pair, with more to come.  They are perfect for my lifestyle, casual and comfortable, and can be dressed up or down, and Ponte knit can be worn all year here in Sunny Florida.  My first pair is black Ponte; this pair is navy Sophia knit from Fabric.com.  I had a tough time photographing these dark fabrics!  

I love, love, love these pants!  Nothing much new to say about this pattern.  At the waist, I took them in 2" at each side seam and 1" at the back seam, blending out to just below the hip.  (I should just alter the pattern, eh?)  I recently took my first pair in the same amount.  I used 1cm elastic, serged on and turned, then stitched in the ditch at each seam to tack it down.  The first pair I used fold over elastic (FOE), but the elastic I used today is a bit firmer.  Except for the stitch in the ditch, these were constructed on the serger.  

Style Arc includes a fabric swatch on each pattern to assist in choosing a fabric.  So far all my Ponte knits have been heavier than the sample, and they work fine.  I like a little more thickness to bottom fabrics.

Back view.  

Up next:

1)  Two more Sailor Sue Palazzo Pants.  Yes, really!  One in an super nice, heftier "Anthracite" Ponte from Emma One Sock, and the other in a brown Ponte from Hancock.
2)  A top that will work with both the "Anthracite" (gray) and the brown pants, in the print fabric below.  Not sure which top yet, but it'll be short sleeve, perhaps another Creative Cate top.  The colors may say Autumn, but the thermometer still says summer,

3)  Some top with 3/4 length or longer sleeves in this next fabric.  The fabric is a knit, feels a bit sweatshirty but a little thinner.  I am feeling something very casual for this fabric.

4)  A beanbag chair requested by DD for her room.  I purchased some ripstop nylon for the inner bag today.  

5)  Some kiddie sewing for nieces and nephews in some too cute fabric I found today.  Looking forward already to seeing them in their outfits!  
That's all for now.  Pretty soon I'll be dreaming of sewing Sailor Sues and Creative Cates in my sleep!  

Thanks for visiting,


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Two Tops and a Skirt

McCall's 6078  has been well reviewed in the blogosphere, including on Pattern Review.  Most reviews warned this pattern ran big, so I purchased the XS-S-M size grouping.  Typically in Big 4 pattern companies, a M size fits my shoulders, and then I adjust the bust.  I mentioned that I was auditioning this pattern for some fabric from EOS.

Notice the disparity?

When I pulled the pattern out of the envelope, printed on the tissue was the L-XL grouping.  Bummer!  Has this ever happened to you?  Well, I forged ahead and cut a straight size large in an ITY knit from Fabric Mart that I had previously used to make a skirt.  I believe the fabric is called Brushstroke.

I hemmed the skirt (Kwik Sew 3513) to mid knee after these pics. 

I pulled my hair up in the first picture to show the little black wraps that gather the fronts.  (Click to enlarge.)  I am still playing with placement of the little wraps.  Higher up you get a deeper cowl, lower down makes the neckline look almost like a sweetheart style.  Nonetheless, the top is too big, which affects the wearability with regards to cleavage.  You can see on the back view the shoulders are extending too far.  

Post-construction changes:  I ended up taking an extra 2cm out of each side seam at armscye level, blending to 4cm at waist level and below, for a total of 4cm at the bust and 8 cm at the waist and hip.  I still will need to take up more at the top of the side seams.  The shoulders and neckline are a little too wide.  Overall, I like the top, but I'm not sure if it will get a ton of wear.  It will need a modesty panel to prevent a show when I lean forward.   I may go back and take up the shoulder seams.  If you make McCall's 6078, be warned, it runs large huge.  

So for now, since the pattern was the wrong size, I did not use this pattern for my EOS fabric.  Instead, I cut Style Arc's Creative Cate.  I searched my pattern stash, looking for a pattern that would let the print fabric speak for itself, and Cate won on that front.  I had 2 1/4 yards of the print - perhaps when I bought it I was thinking dress, but right now I am in skirt and top mode.  I managed to squeeze out both the Cate and another KS 3513, with enough left for a pair, maybe 2 of panties, skivvies, undies, or knickers, depending where you reside!  

Creative Cate Top  
Source:  Stylearc.com

Nothing much new to say about Creative Cate, really, except that when I first made it, I wasn't in love.  I've changed my tune after Cate spent some time in the magic closet.  I constructed this version slightly differently, basting stay tape to the shoulders, then serging them, catching in the edges of the cowl.  The side seams were serged, hems coverstitched.  This fabric, while lightweight, is a little more substantial than the knit I used for my first Cate, which improves wearability.

{I apologize for lousy cell phone pictures.  I misplaced my camera remote.  :-( }

Not much new to say about the Kwik Sew skirt either,  except I road tested the black one from the previous post, and found it to be too big, constantly falling down.  For this skirt I cut a small waistband and medium skirt body.  Trust me, in no realm of the universe am I a size small.  This pattern is generously sized.  The S/M combo is a much more comfortable combo.  Now I've got to take in the black one.  Here are some pictures of Cate and KS3513 - click to enlarge as usual.  

Left picture:  Too much print for me.  Broken up with a RTW black sweater, middle, is better, IMO.  I like the combo on the left the best - my favorite RTW black tee with Cate.  Dress it down with black flip flops and I'm good to go any day.

I did not take a picture, but the black KS skirt looks great with new Cate.  Sort of like my Style Arc Sailor Sue Palazzo Pants, below,  look nice with Cate (after I took them in from the waist through the hip.)  I threw on my favorite RTW wrap/sweater (purchased last winter from the lingerie department at Nordstrom's), some jewlery and lipstick, and wore the outfit to dinner last night.  
I like how the black pieces tone down the print a bit.

I wanted to mention that I did something a little different on the black KS 3513 skirt hem.  I used my coverstitch, but placed the skirt right side down when sewing, so the actual coverstitch is on the inside, and what you normally see on the inside is on the right side.  I have seen this on exercise clothing & sportswear, and I like the look.  Of course, no one will really notice, right?

As I was cutting out the print Cate top and KS skirt, I realized that I had the makings of a mini wardrobe starting.  Not my usual MO, but it is a good thing, as the majority of the clothes in my closet do not fit anymore, all being too big.  I am loving the ITY knits - the black ITY skirt is incredibly comfortable.  On my ironing board at the moment is a Style Arc Lisa Top in Black ITY which will coordinate with the print skirt.   It's another quickie, but I stopped short of installing the V neck binding late last evening - I did not want to muck it up 'cause I was too tired, know what I mean?

Seriously, though Cate is so fast and easy that you could make a bunch of these in an evening.  Cate in a variety of colors with a Kwik Sew 3513 black skirt and a pair of black Style Arc Sailor Sue Palazzo Pants, (both also quick makes) and a sweater, and you have a knit travel wardrobe that resists wrinkles and takes up almost no room.  I'm not traveling, but I am in need of clothes that fit for a bit while I continue my weight loss and fitness journey.  These pieces are proving useful in that regard.  I may pursue this knit mini wardrobe in a couple of colorways to last me through my weight loss journey.   I may start with another pair of Sailor Sue Pants in a grey Ponte for autumn - they have been worn probably more than any other clothing item I've made. 

Next up after Lisa? I'm planning on riding the knits wave for a few more pieces, and I have a couple of birthday presents to make.  That's all for now, folks, thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Late Summer: Organizing, Planning, Sewing

The party is over, summer has come to an end.  Temperature wise it will be summer here in Florida until October, and tradition tells us that Labor Day in the US is the last hurrah of summer.  By the time the autumnal equinox arrives, we will be a month into the school year.  It's time to get busy with school schedules, fundraisers, and {oh, my} the all-important looking at colleges.  

A few shots from our week at the beach.  For Floridians, August is a great time to go to the beach.  Since it is                                                   not prime tourist season, the beaches are quieter, and it's a perfect relaxing break before the hectic pace of the school year begins.  I'm happy to say that the tankini top  I made recently was used every day, and wore well.  The sun was blazing, so a little extra coverage was a good thing!
View from the condo (l), Plumeria (r).


The summer conversations over ice cream runs and relaxed meals centered around college and career plans.  It is a bit overwhelming for the high school kids who have so many choices.  It's a fun time, too, watching the kids go through the process.

With that, the upcoming year will be a busy one, and I am wondering how that will impact my sewing and blogging.  I am already behind on blogging sewn items, and haven't posted a review on Pattern Review in ages.  I haven't mentioned this, but I am in the midst of an all out studio reorganization.  Cleaning and reorganizing is what I do when there is a lot going on or I have to do some thinking.  (My daughter must have inherited that gene, because she did the same to her room this week.)  Once I finish the studio re-do (during which I am still sewing!!!), I will need to have a sort of 'plan' (loosely) for sewing this fall.  

I have been losing weight, (the slow, hard, old-fashioned way) so as I continue to reduce my weight and tone my body, I will need to adjust my sewing accordingly.  I made a couple of things recently that are already too big to wear.  It does not bother me, though, because the simple act of sewing fulfills an urge inside, know what I mean?  And it is a zen sort of process.  I was thinking that I could do as some other bloggers do and cut out several items in advance and sew them as time allows, but that probably will not work for me right now.  I feel the need to focus on some workout wear right now, and have some great patterns and fabric for that purpose, so that will be on the agenda.  Also on the near future agenda are window treatments for the master bedroom.  I've had the fabric for months, it's time to get 'em done.  DD needs window treatments for her room as well.  Those won't take long, hell it's just a bunch of straight seams.  It's the getting started that's taking so long!  At any rate, I am in need of some basic items in my wardrobe because of the weight change, so I will try to fill some holes there. 

Now let's get to the actual sewing!   Here is what I've been up to in the studio.

The Turtle Skirt - I made this last year, and love it.  It was too small, so I altered it.  Took off the waist facing and resized it, removed the zipper, added front and back waist darts, took in the side seams, resewed the waist facing and zipper.  I had to cover the end of the zipper where I shortened it.  Wearable again.  Trust me, only done because I love this skirt!  


Magnetic Ironing Pads for the top of the washer and dryer:  I like to iron certain things while still damp, or right out of the dryer.  My nice little laundry room (see below) doesn't have room for an ironing board.  I love these pads, and am wondering why I waited so long to make them.  I put the magnets in little pouches hanging down from the sides.  The magnets really help to keep the pads in place, even through the vigorous spin cycle!  See that little stack of freshly ironed pillowcases?  I have a slight ironing obsession.  Ahem.  What are the freshly washed green and white fabrics on the washer for?  That's the next project, of course!

Welcome to my laundry room.  It is small, but efficient.  

Fleece Baby Blanket for a friend's brand new baby granddaughter!  Isn't this fun fabric?  Easy peasy!


Finally, today I made wearable muslins from two patterns, Kwik Sew 3513 and McCall's 6078.  I am auditioning patterns for these knit fabrics, purchased from Christine Jonson's website.  Yes, they are luscious!  

Let's look at the skirt, KS3513, first.  

Thank you Myra, for suggesting this!  I remembered seeing a knit skirt I liked that Shannon (Mushywear) made, which was also KS3513.  Last night I ran to Hancock's (and I have to say the ladies were so nice last night - good moods prevailed!), picked up the pattern and cut it out.  I really wanted to muslin it first, so I pulled out a yard of 60" wide ITY in black, a piece purchased recently from Hancock's.  The fabric was barely enough, I had to just 'make it work'.  I ended up cutting a size large for the skirt back, a medium for the skirt front in width (large in length), and a medium for the waistband.  Instead of cutting on the fold, I cut four pieces, so there are center front and back seams, as well as side seams.  I had to piece together one of the skirt panels at the bottom, because of fabric shortage. It's a black knit, who's gonna know?  Besides, we'll call it a 'design element'.  The skirt fits, it is quite comfortable, and I love it.  I could have gotten away with a size small at the waist, and medium for the skirt body.  Lots of ease here.  This pattern will work well for my CJ fabric in black.  Perhaps I'll make the longer skirt since I now have a great new black skirt that just needs a hem!

With the Style Arc Creative Cate top - pulled down in the right pic to show the skirt waistband (folded) placement. 

With a RTW cami 'n sweater.  Oops, cut off my head and feet!


With a black knit RTW top, showing the waistband both ways.

By the way, Creative Cate, the red top above, is growning on me after some time in the magic closet!  I'm happy about that.  I may even make it again.

Oh, here is the pieced skirt panel: 

See?  No one will be any the wiser!

I believe that's enough for tonight.  I will save the top, McCall's 6078 for another day.  It needs a couple finishing touches before I take pictures.  

So much fabric, so many patterns, never enough time!!!  What's on your cutting table, summer or fall projects?  Halloween decorations are out at the stores already, Autumn's a comin'!

Happy sewing, 


Thursday, August 16, 2012

3 Questions

1)  Who is your toughest critic?

2)  What is your absolute favorite knit skirt pattern?

3)  Don't you hate paying good money for poorly constructed clothing?

1) My toughest critic, by far, is my lovely daughter.  The good thing is, I know she won't let me leave the house looking ridiculous.  The girl does not mince words.  Case in point:  Last month before we went on our beach vacation, I sewed up McCall's 6559, the oh so popular maxi tank dress.  I thought it would be a good dress for the beach, going out to dinner, over the bathing suit, whatever.  I made it in a green knit, that wasn't my best color, but I had a lot of yardage.  So I looked at this as a muslin, 'cause I wasn't sure this dress was going to work on my bod.  Well, it didn't work on my bod.  

Source:  McCallPattern.com

Fast forward to post vacation.  One night after showering I throw this dress on for the heck of it, thinking I can wear it as a nightgown, if nothing else.  Then I went around to the bathrooms gathering dirty towels to wash.  I walked in the bathroom where DD was showering, and she said  yelled from inside the shower, "Oh no, Mom, take that thing off and burn it!  Burn it now!!"  Yeah, so M6559 is a no-go for me.

No pictures of me wearing this were taken.  

2)  I ask this skirt question because I want to make a black knit skirt this week, casual, easy, not a pencil skirt.  I'm eyeing the Bobbie Bask by Style Arc, but that will take too long to get here.  If I can't find one in my stash I may have to just copy one from my closet.  Suggestions?

Source: StyleArc.com

3)  Ugh.  This pains me.

Isn't this a pretty little blouse?  Nice lace panel set into the back.  DD loved it, we picked it up this week at Nordstrom's, in the Junior's Department.  I should have looked at it closer.

The top is made of polyester.  The label said Dry Clean Only.  Yeah right.  I hand washed it.  It's still wet in this picture.

That's when I noticed the pockets.  Unfinished.  Jagged cuts. Fraying.  

I expect this from H & M, Target, yes.  Nordstrom's? No.  I am annoyed that I paid for this!  I know as a person who sews, you get this.  

Well that's all I've got for now.

Have a fantastic Friday!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Studio Art: I Want!

But I'm too cheap to pay the $149.95 price tag. Think about how much fabric I can buy for that same amount! We found these operating wall shears today at Z-Gallerie.

Whaddya think? Perfect studio wall art? Would you pay the price, or would you rather spend the $$ on fabric?

***ETA:  Thank you shams for looking up the measurements.  30" tall by 10.5" wide.  It's a biggie!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Vacation! Well, Almost.

Hello y'all!  How goes it in your neck of the woods?  Life has been so busy here, and there has been sewing, just no blogging.

View of the Gulf of Mexico from the Florida Gulf Coast
We live in one of the most beautiful locations: Florida, a short drive to the Gulf Beaches.  Sweet, right?  This summer  year has been sparse for vacations for us.  We planned a beach getaway to begin today, right before the school year begins again.

We packed our suitcases, filled the cooler with goodies, dropped off the dogs at the sitters, and were on our way.  We stopped here for lunch, a bit of a detour, but worth it!  (If you are local, it's a must go.  Myra, we should so do lunch here.)  Finally, with full bellies we turn onto the street in front of the beaches, our beachfront condo building visible just a stone's throw away.  We are calculating in our heads how long it'll take to unload the car and hit the beach, wondering if we will beat the afternoon storms.

But we are stopped by a police officer, his cruiser blocking the road with lights flashing.  Surely he will let us get to our beach condo, it's so close!  Nay.  A gas leak has occurred right in front of the condo.  No one gets past the roadblock.  Geez, what are the odds?

So, we turn around and head back home until we get the all clear to head back.  In the meantime, I will sew.  (Which is cool, because truth be told, I was feeling a bit odd about not taking any sewing with me.)  The hubs?  Went to work.  Yes, really.  I kid you not.  DD is hanging out with me, just chilling and looking cute and summery in her sundress.

I will blog after vacay about the sewing I've been doing, some good, some meh.  Right now I'm gonna run and go whip out a tee.

Parting shot - this is up next on the cutting table after vacation (if it ever starts!).  Not sure of the patterns, yet.  What would you make with the scrumptious knits?

Can't remember if I showed you this yummy fabric.  If I did, well, here it is again!  
What's up next on your cutting table?  Please share, I get so inspired by you all!

Be well, and happy sewing,