October Plans

September 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm (regular) ()

I rearranged my Tim Gunn list yet again, this time to match up with the October PR contest and a Colette Pattern sew along.  Here is what I have planned for the coming month:

#3. Vogue 8685 in pink for the PR Think Pink contest.  It will also count as my day dress.

#4. Colette Patterns Clover or McCall’s 6440.  Colette Patterns is having a sew along for their Clover pattern starting October 4th.  Since this is my first time makings pants, I’d really like to participate.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to get the pattern in time so the McCall’s pattern is my backup. 

#5.  Butterick 5562 and McCall’s 6404.  The inspiration for this outfit is from a Foley + Corinna sweater:

#5. McCall’s 6436 This pattern looks almost identical to the famous Equipment Signature Blouse.  I’ve also wanted a loose, silky blouse for a while.  Though, this will be the first button down shirt I’ve ever attempted so I’ll probably use a more stable fabric and/or different pattern when the times comes.

Does anyone else make sewing plans?  If so, what are you going to be working on in October?


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#2 Any Occasion Top

September 24, 2011 at 4:00 pm (regular) (, , )

I decided to take a break from the second version of the pencil skirt.  I caught myself rushing through it just to be done and it was starting to look sloppy.  Sloppy results in past projects is exactly why I decided to do this sew along and do the whole “back to basics” thing. 

Here’s what I did instead:

Pattern & Description: Butterick 5495 Knit Top

Pattern Sizing: I sewed View A in a size 10.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? 

I love that the final product looks more complicated than it actually was.  I think this is another confidence builder, especially for a beginner like me!

I agree with previous reviewers that the holes for the loop can be a bit exposing and every time I put on the top, I have to fiddle with the facing.  I’ll have to wear it soon to see how much it all shifts around with daily wear.

Fabric Used:  A rayon blend from Joann’s.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I stitched the holes for the loops a little smaller, but that’s it!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I would definitely sew this again.  I think I’d like to sew another one in a solid heather grey.

Conclusion:  Despite the fiddly issues and my serious inexperience sewing knits on a regular sewing machine, the top ended up great. 

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September 24, 2011 at 11:54 am (photo)

A couple nights ago, we pulled this machine out of storage.  I bought it at least a year ago off of craigslist mainly because I needed a little laptop desk in my apartment. It was cheap enough that I wasn’t concerned with whether the machine actually worked.  (It does).

I currently sew with my mom’s old Singer Genie 353 and while it works great, after doing a little reading the other night, I realized I probably will never be able to do button holes on this machine. 

I did some research on this machine and found out it is a Singer 66 from 1951.  I think I’ve figured out which Singer or Greist buttonholer it needs but I’m hoping to verify with someone before I actually order it.

All of this research though on both machines has really piqued my interest in vintage sewing machines.  I might have caught the collecting bug…which will be much to my boyfriend’s chagrin.

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The Jeans Dilemma

September 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm (regular) ()

I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I want to sew a pair of jeans.  Because I overanalyze everything, here’s what I’ve been thinking:

  1. None of the jeans patterns really jump out at me.  For pretty much every item on the Tim Gunn list I’ve found a pattern that I just have to make, and in most cases, I found multiple.
  2. I would probably never wear jeans I made myself thinking the look and quality were sub par to the jeans I have in my closet. 
  3. I already own entirely too many jeans.
  4. I have very few casual pants that aren’t jeans. 

So, the only reason I’d be making jeans would be to say I actually made jeans (and I guess to not deviate from the list?) and honestly, I have no problem leaving the jeans making to the professionals. 

I’d really much rather sew a pair of casual pants like the J.Crew Minnies.  While looking for patterns, I stumbled upon the Collette Pattern’s Clover cigarette pants.  It’s exactly what I’m looking for and conveniently, they are having a Clover Sew Along starting October 4th.  So, while jeans are actually towards the end of my “to do” list, I think I’ll bump up these pants and join in.  I’ve never made pants before and fit is incredibly important when it comes to pants like these so I think there’s no better way to take a first stab at them than during a sew along.

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#1 The Pencil Skirt

September 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm (regular) (, , )

The skirt is finished! Pictures to come once I can get my “photographer” to take a picture of me in it.  Pictures are added below. 

Also, I’ve decided on my next project.  Since I can’t decide what I want to do for the sweatsuit alternative, I’m going to pass on it for now and sew my choice for the any occasion top, which is the very popular Butterick 5495.  The pattern is cut out and once I finish the extra pencil skirt I decided to make, I’ll start right away on the top. 

Pattern & Description: Simplicity 2343 – Six Made Easy Pencil Skirts

Pattern Sizing: I sewed a 14 in View A.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Pretty much.  I didn’t add the buttons.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Very easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? 

This pattern was definitely a confidence builder.  Very easy to put together.  I also liked that the zipper was inserted in the back and not the side.  I’m not sure what most (more experienced) people prefer but I attempted a Burda pencil skirt about a year ago and it got scrapped because of my inability to insert the size zipper without making the hip wonky. 

I actually didn’t like the little pleats in front.  I have to wonder if this only looks good on people with flat stomachs.  The hip also is a bit wide but that’s more a fit issue than a pattern issue and since this is my first project getting back into it, I didn’t want to get burnt out trying to learn so many things on one garment.

Fabric Used:  I can’t remember exactly what type of fabric I used but it was a thicker material from Hancock’s fall wool or suiting selection.  I picked it because I wanted something sturdy for my first attempt to get back into sewing.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I believe the pattern calls for a regular zipper.  I added an invisible zipper because I wanted to practice inserting one (and I only have an invisible zipper foot…).  I prefer the look of invisible zippers anyways. 

I also had to shorten the skirt about 3 inches.  I’m not sure how tall the model is on the envelope but the skirt hits me just a touch lower than it hits her after I removed the 3 inches.  (I’m 5’4”).  This did end up making the vent look oddly short so I won’t be inserting it in any future versions.  I wore the skirt once already and I don’t think a vent is even needed.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  Yes, I’m actually sewing a second version right now.  I’m sewing View D without the embroidery stitches in a small hounds-tooth print fabric, also from Hancock’s fall suiting collection.  I chose View D to avoid the pleats and for even quicker assembly (this version doesn’t have pockets).  After this version, I probably won’t sew another only because there are so many other skirt patterns with different varieties.  I’d definitely recommend it to others.  

Conclusion:  This is a great pattern for experienced sewers who want to add a new quick skirt to their wardrobe and beginners who want a great, wearable project under their belt.  I think this will be a great one to come back to too when I want to focus more on fit (the hip issue).

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Next Project

September 18, 2011 at 6:38 pm (regular) ()

I’m not quite finished with the pencil skirt but I don’t have the next couple projects picked out.  I thought I’d keep track of some of my options here. 

2. Sweatsuit Alternatives:

McCall’s 6173 Leggings

Simplicity 2016 Knit Pants

Butterick 5247 Tunic

Simplicity 2369 Knit Top and Pants

3. Any Occasion Top:

Butterick 5495 Knit Top

McCall’s 6288 Knit Top

Simplicity 2369 Knit Top

4. Day Dress:

Simplicity 2369 Knit Top

5. Basic Black Dress:

McCall’s 6319

Vogue 1250 

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New Blog

September 17, 2011 at 1:52 am (regular) (, )

I’ve been an on again off again “beginner” for too long.  After reading a lot of advice for beginning sewers, I decided to start over.  I’m going to join the PR Tim Gunn Sew Along (almost a year late) and work my way from the least challenging pieces to the most challenging.  Below is a list of pieces Tim Gunn finds essential to every woman’s wardrobe in the order I (tentatively) plan on making them.  I’ll keep it updated with the patterns I choose to make for each piece as well as a link to the finished products.  Wish me luck!

  1. Skirt – Simplicity 2343 (Pencil Skirt)
  2. Any Occasion Top – Butterick 5495 (Knit Top) 
  3. Day Dress – Vogue 8685
  4. Jeans Day Pants – Colette Patterns Clover or McCall’s 6440
  5. Sweatsuit Alternative – Butterick 5562 (Knit Top) and McCall’s 6404 (Leggings)
  6. Classic Shirt – McCall’s 6436
  7. Basic Black Dress
  8. Bonus trendy item – Burda 7536 (Jumpsuit)
  9. Dress Pants
  10. Jacket
  11. Trench Coat – McCall’s 5525

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