Tuesday, October 16, 2018

New Simplicity Patterns for Winter

On a whim, I clicked through to the Simplicity website last night, and there were new patterns!  I am not as excited about these as the last batch, but there are some vintage reproduction goodies.  This hat pattern, for instance, is pretty fabulous!  Sure, I would have rather seen hats from the 1930s or 1940s because I find the silhouettes a bit more interesting, but this pattern is really pretty special.  I just love that pointed hat silhouette!!

And once again, we have more apron pattern options.  These things must be super popular, because they keep producing them.  Don't get me wrong, this one is cute, but do we need another simple apron pattern in the collection?  I will be curious to see the appliqué pieces, which isn't something I recall being included with aprons . . . so maybe this is something new.

And here is another one.  This has the added oven mitt, which is super handy (I may actually want to make myself one of those!).  There is also a head scarf and selection of bags included.  I don't really understand the accessory combo here, but there is a lot included, so I suppose that's a good thing.  And now I really want a hand made oven mitt . . .

Here is another vintage reproduction from the 1950s.  The "simple to make" does not excite me, but this is a cute little nightgown.  I would rather have a dress or skirt, but at least Simplicity continues to share more vintage designs.

There is a skirt that I am interested in, just in the contemporary section of the catalog.  At first glance, I passed right over this one, but the shaped waistband with the center front buttons is very cute.

The lesson here is to always look at the technical drawings.  There is some good stuff here!  I am not really an asymmetrical skirt opening kind of girl, but there are a lot of nice options to be had in one pattern.

And to end with something cute, here is an adorable stuffed animal pattern.  I will never get around to making one of these, but they sure are cute!

[Click on image for source]

Thursday, October 11, 2018

2018 Holiday Vogue Patterns

Vogue released their new Winter/Holiday Collection this week, and as you can probably guess, I am most excited about the new Vintage Vogue design!
I love the line drawings on this one; the back, especially, is gorgeous.  This will definitely be added to my collection.  My only hesitation would be fabric choice.  I think this needs a solid color in order to fully appreciate the style lines, but I have a really difficult time finding solid colored fabrics that I like.  But I am up for the challenge!

I am also drawn to this Paco Peralta outfit.  It probably has a lot to do with the fabulous textured fabric, but this one has some definite possibilities.  I would almost want to extend the top into a dress.  Maybe?  Sounds like more work than I will probably want to do, but I love the look.
And do I need another shirt dress?  No, absolutely not.  But Vogue 9345 has so many different options.  The oversized sleeves are a bit much, in my opinion, but can you ever really have too many classic garments in the closet?  And this one has Dior darts, which I am fairly certain is different than my other shirtdress patterns.  The straight skirted version is also très chic with the pleats. Yep, I guess I need this one too!

I own a tiered ruffle skirt somewhat similar to the full length version of Vogue 9349 and I love it!  Which reminds me that I haven't worn it in a while, and I must remedy that situation.  My skirt has has an elastic waistband which I always ended up covering with a sweater, while this one is a wrap skirt.  I don't especially like yoked waistbands on my body, but I think I may have to try this pattern out.
This dress is part of Vogue 9351, one of the Vogue Wardrobe patterns, which includes a jacket, pants, a jumpsuit, and the dress. So, lots of bang for your buck.  I am drawn to the raglan sleeve, but I think the style lines may end up being a bit too "modern" for me.  This is one I am going to have to think about.  But I love how many different looks and neckline options are included here . . . very creative and that extra effort is very much appreciated.

This looked like any other halter neck dress at first glance . . .
But Vogue 9343 has a covered back and cut in shoulders.  So what I first thought looked rather boring turned out to be a wonderful surprise.  I certainly don't need another excuse to make a formal dress . . . but wouldn't this look amazing in a jewel toned velvet!

And I had to include this Badgley Mischka gown.  From the front, it looks like perfection . . . and then they cheapen the whole thing with oversized grommets?!?  I am sure this will be a popular pattern, but it looks like the designers felt the need to do something "different" and this is the best they could come up with.  I, for one, am not impressed.  I found this version of what appears to be the same dress, minus the gross grommets, with an added sheer sleeve.  I like that one better.  There is a boned bodice foundation included, so at least the construction methods are going to be good.  And I suppose I could also forego the back detail for a classic look . . .
So, not the most exciting pattern collection I have ever seen, but there is some good stuff to be found.  Do you have any new favorites?

[Click on image for source]

Thursday, September 20, 2018

A Comfy Cushion

I found a lovely rocking chair at a garage sale a couple of weeks back.  It's quite comfortable, but if you want to sit for a significant amount of time, a wood seat can begin to feel a little hard.  So a cushion was in order!

I looked around for a tutorial to make sure I wasn’t going to miss anything important.  This one was particularly helpful, although I made a few changes to suit my needs.

The supplies I used were as follows:
Quilting Cotton
Fusible Interfacing
Yarn Scrap (for piping)
Covered Button Kit
Button & Carpet Thread (for tufting)
PolyFil (for stuffing)

And best of all, everything I needed was in the stash.  There was not quite enough poly-fil stuffing left in the bag to completely stuff the cushion, so I used some scraps of polyester fleece to fill out the remaining bit, and it worked beautifully!  The fleece was purchased years ago with the thought that it would be an inexpensive way to make shoulder pads - big mistake - cotton batting is far superior, and so it was nice to find a use for the gross polyester stuff.  By the way, does anyone know why JoAnns fills its stores with fleece?  Someone must be buying it, right?  But who, exactly - I never see anyone in those aisles.  Inquiring minds want to know.

But back to the cushion . . . I would say the most important features to make a hand made cushion look good are piping, and buttons for tufting.  Otherwise, you are going to have a rather sad looking stuffed square.

The piping on this particular project could probably stand to be a bit wider, but even a narrow option adds something.  And if you are going to add tufting, make sure to interface your fabric at those spots.  I interfaced the entire front and back of my cushions because the quilting cotton was not especially sturdy, but if you are planning to pull a length of thread through a mass of stuffing and pull it tight, you will definitely need to reinforce that area so the fabric does not tear.

I also added four sets of ties, two at the back corners, and the two others a few inches in the from the opposite corners to match the forward most spindles of the chair.

I was expecting this to be a practice run, but I really love how it turned out.  So for now, I am going to keep my lily pad cushion on my lovely new rocking chair!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Dogwood Blossoms

I wanted to make myself some lovely linen separates in a solid color.  That didn’t happen - mostly because a skirt like this takes so much darn fabric and I didn’t want to purchase anything new.  Hello, sewing room crammed to the rafters with fabric.

But I did have this lovely dogwood quilting cotton print.

I would not be averse to making this up again in a solid, should the right fabric come along . . .

But for now, I am quite pleased to run around in the heat in this cool cotton combo.

I have already worn the skirt paired with a vintage eyelet blouse, and I suspect the Smooth Sailing Blouse will also come in handy paired with any number of separates (a denim skirt, for example).

So I am going to call this project a success!

I am currently feeling somewhat disappointed over all of the summer sewing projects I did not manage to get done, and the weather is definitely beginning to turn.  Then again, it will be nice to pull some wool out of the stash.  So do I try to finish one or two more warm weather wearables, or do I head into Fall a bit early?  Only time will tell . . .  And those knitting needles are calling my name, so how is that for a distraction!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Testing out a new pattern (company)

The Rita Blouse was a design that I was curious about from the beginning; but I have so many other projects to work on.  But then I kept seeing so many cute versions pop up, so I decided to jump in and try a new pattern company.

And I am glad that I tested this one out!  I am so comfortable working with Simplicity, Vogue, McCalls, and Butterick, that nine times out of ten, one or two standard modifications means their garments fit just about perfect.  That's not to say I don't make a muslin when special fabric is involved, or I want to play around with pairing different sleeves to different bodices or swapping out skirts and needing to match darts, but for the most part, things work out pretty well on the first go around.

I pulled out a vintage shirt that had seen better days to use as a wearable muslin.  The collars and cuffs were discolored, but the rest of the fabric was definitely useable.

My only real fitting issues was that underbust seam was very snug, which is not a measurement that I generally worry about.  I also couldn't get away with using a B-cup like I do with multi cup patterns from the Big4 and needed to use a C-cup.  But at least I figured that out before cutting into a fabric that I really loved!

It was a squeeze fitting all of the pieces on my lilac fabric remnants, and I ended up needing to piece the back bodice.  I also really wanted to have a little ruffle along the neck and armhole edges.  Normally, I would just extend those areas by and inch or two to accomplish this, however, I was down to scraps, and that wasn't going to work.

So I pieced together bias strips using the remaining scraps, and when all was said and done, I had about six inches of bias leftover.  I just love when things work out perfectly!

Of course, one of the reasons I had so little fabric to play with was the fact that I really, really wanted a matching skirt to pair with the top.  I stole the skirt pieces from View C of Butterick 6558 and added a simple waistband which worked out perfectly.

I have made a lot of quilting cotton skirts in my time, and they sometimes feel rather lightweight - especially with a full skirt that has a tendency to move with the slightest breeze.

As an experiment, I cut a six inch wide piece of fabric using the bottom edge of the skirt pattern to create a facing.  Actually, I cut two for even more added weight.  You can see that the hemline has a nice flare on the dress form.

Having worn the skirt a couple of times, I can say that this technique works quite nicely, and I am sure that I will use it again in the future.  And I am thrilled that I managed to add two more separates to my wardrobe that pair so nicely together!!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Figuring out a Fix

Sometimes an issue comes up with a project and the fix is not immediately apparent, or, in this case, I just didn't want to deal with it . . . for an entire year.

I had plans for my rick rack cotton.  I decided that a simple dirndl skirt paired with a McCalls 7563 peasant style blouse was going to be splendid.

But the curse of the invisible zipper strikes again.  Because just as I was about to finish my new outfit, the zipper broke.  Aarrrggghhhhhhh!!

I have had issues with invisible zippers in the past, but never like this.  The entire pull and the metal pieces attached broke off.  Sure, I could have picked the entire zipper out and replaced it, but I had trimmed all my seam allowances down at that point, and the idea did not seem very appealing.

In the end, an eye pin, a pair of wire cutters, and some glue fixed the problem.  It's not perfect, but it works.  And I didn't have to take the entire skirt apart to make it work.  Hooray!

I stitched a pair of oversized pockets on for added interest, and cut both those, and the waistband on the cross grain.

I used my favorite trick to keep the wide waistband from collapsing - a few pieces of plastic boning.

And to spice things up, I added a bit of extra fabric at the neck opening so I could use two channels of elastic.

Alls well that ends well!  This was definitely a reminder that sometimes it's a good idea to let things sit for a while before moving forward.