3 out of 4 isn’t too bad!

I’ve been seriously in love with the cool, rainy week we’ve had. Maybe it’s in my genes, but I’m happiest when the sun is more of a special surprise and it’s not our typical Kansas summer blowtorch. So you could say that I’ve spent the last week glorying in overcast days. And even though the sun is shining today, it’s still nice and cool with a lovely breeze.

Enough about the weather, but it’s what inspired me to head back to the sewing room to whip up a four-peat. And as an extra bonus, I found a good occasion to break out an ITY and some slinky that’s been in my stash for….forever. As it turns out, those two fabrics work well for sleeping. Who knew?!

To make them, I used a OOP Kwik Sew pattern that I made a lot of changes to.


A lot of changes might be an understatement.

  1. The first thing I did after tracing off my sizes, was rotate the dart that creates the pleats/gathers into a bust dart. I know that bust darts on knits are kind of controversial, but I don’t mind them.
  2. Then I trued up the front edge, eliminating the excess that would have been gathered/pleated.
  3. Narrowed up the shoulders–even though I cut them at a size S, they were still too wide for a tank/dress to my eye. I shaved off about 5/8″, tapering to nothing at the underarm seam.
  4. And then I discovered after cutting out the first one that it was indecently low–even Burda would blush! So I hacked off 1.5″ at the top of the front shoulders, and then re-narrowed them so that they matched the back and transferred this to my paper pattern.

Because this was a test, I wasn’t too worried about how it would look, but since everything fit the way I wanted it to, I went ahead and used a 12″ wide strip that I doubled over and sewed it to the bottom. It didn’t gather as much as I’d have hoped, but it has a little bit of swing to it that I liked. I was worried that I wasn’t going to like the ITY for sleeping (because I decided it would be a nightgown when I added the “skirt”), but it’s actually much nicer than I thought it would be.

Excited by this knowledge, I quickly grabbed a piece of slinky from my stash and sewed it up exactly the same way–“skirt” and all. I’ll admit that I am not loving this one as much, but it’s actually not bad to wear for sleeping, and no one outside of the house will see it’s flaws…well, except you, but I trust you can keep a secret!

Pride goeth before a fall though, and I stumbled pretty hard on number three. You see, the other two were practice runs to even see if this pattern would look like what I wanted it to before I cut into some super pretty lace to make into something that might actually see the light of day. I liked the way the neckline and shoulders turned out, and the length was pretty close, except I wanted a “mullet” hem and a neckline pleat in the back. So I merrily added an additional inch of width to the back and the mullet part went in great too, until I discovered that this particular fabric stretches the wrong way. Instead of stretching from selvege to selvege, it stretched from cut end to cut end. And I had NEVER EVEN THOUGHT TO CHECK. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ I realized it before I cut the front, so I cut the front on the correct stretch line and stitched it together as planned and hoped for the best. Print-wise, it made no difference, and if you look closely you can tell the weave is slightly different, but mostly you can feel it in the fit. I barely got it over my head with the pleats sewn in.

After scratching my head for a minute, I let out the pleat and tried it on again. Much better! I modeled it for the hubby to see if there was a giant wad of fabric at the back neckline, and he said no. So I went ahead and finished it, because I didn’t have it in me to throw it away. It actually turned out pretty good, but the fabric is quite scratchy where my arms rub against my side. I’m hoping this gets better with washing, but it’s not going to be an “every day” shirt anyway, so even if it doesn’t I can probably tolerate it long enough to wear it to church or something.

Then I spied some more ITY in my stash that had been hacked on as a test for something else, but I had enough left to make another nightgown. I got it all cut out and sewn together, exactly as the others, except the neckband just would. not. go. in! I think I ripped that neckband out 4 or 5 times before the seam allowances on the bodice gave out and got holes in them. I decided it wasn’t worth the battle and tossed it in the trash. Sometimes you just gotta pick your battles, you know? At least I got to try out a new toy, right?

So that’s what I’ve been up to. Well, that and building stuff in the garage. I built a little roll around cart for the jointer/planer and my husband and I are currently working on a platform bed for Scotch. Hopefully, he’s mature enough to handle a “top bunk” at the ripe old age of 4 and a half. 🀞 We painted it last night, and hopefully soon we’ll get the rails done and painted so we can mount it on the wall. Because I’m ready to make a corner hutch for my dining room…#toomanyprojectstoolittletime πŸ˜†

And I don’t promise that there won’t be another one (or two!) of these coming up soon to wear for every day.


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#Sewcialists will understand. 😠 Kwik sew 3672.

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Did some work today on Kwik Sew 3672 pattern, only to discover that I chose a poor fabric mate for it. It happens. It’s annoying, but I’m not devastated. To be honest, I’m not sure that it was realistic for me during exercise anyway, but it might have been ok for sleeping in or lounging in the evening. Basically the fabric felt icky on my skin, it was too lightweight, and too stretchy for the pattern. I might try again someday, but I don’t have anything suitable and I’m trying to minimize my new fabric purchases since we’re hiring contractors to replace our windows and siding* (yay!!!!) instead of doing it ourselves. Because of that, it’s going to be a bit lean and I’ll need to focus on making do with what I already have. And believe me, I have plenty, I just need to focus on it instead of checking out the new and shiny. πŸ˜‰

*This is the first time we’ve let someone else come in and do a whole project. The DIYer/control freak in me is probably going to struggle a bit. But I’m mostly just excited about our house looking nicer and being able to open the windows easily! πŸ™‚

Belated birthday sewing

My husband’s birthday is at the end of November. It has been on the same day as long as I’ve known him ;-), but for some reason, this year I struggled to get my gift for him done in time. As in, nothing would go right…it was as though I’d forgotten how to sew. SMH.

  • I sliced into the front bodice (is it still called that for men?) trying to fix a button band and had to recut it.
  • Any pieces that could have been sewn on backwards, upside-down, or wrong side out, I did it.
  • Nearly cut too far snipping the corners off pretty much every single collar point/cuff.
  • My cuffs still don’t look sharp and pretty as I’d like.
  • I interfaced the button bands with too stiff of interfacing so had to recut them.
  • My hems still weren’t level, even after adding length to the pattern pieces–which I still don’t understand, since I compared the side seams of the pattern pieces and they matched after my adjustments. You sure couldn’t tell it by the finished seams though. Hmph!
  • There wasn’t a package of bias tape to be found that came anywhere close to the grey-green striped fabric–in fact, notions for that fabric were nearly impossible all around.

All I can say is thank goodness past me (because these fabrics were both in my stash for the last 4+ years) bought the full yardage recommended by the pattern! I wouldn’t have needed but about 2/3 as much, but all my goofs meant that the extra came in very handy! I guess the other thing that turned out really well was the sleeve plackets and my topstitching–both of those things are gorgeous on both shirts. Neither of them are something that anyone but me (and you–since you’ll get close-ups) will notice, but at least something turned out right! And all of this trouble on a TNT! I’ve made this pattern at least 6 or 8 times before!

I only included ^ one because it shows the blue shirt in progress in the back–proof! πŸ˜› (Trust me, it’ll make sense in a moment.)

So here are the pictures of the finished shirts, all ready to be worn by my wonderful husband:



OK, so this picture is actually from this post, but it’s the exact same pattern, fabric, and size. So I’m cheating by not retaking the pictures. Call me lazy if you’d like. πŸ˜‰


In the end, I’m glad I did these. Hubby’s closet was getting rather shabby–all those clothes he’s been wearing since 8th grade (Grrr! I wish I could still wear stuff from that long ago!) are finally starting to wear out, and all at once too! If I had more time, I’d probably replace a few more in his wardrobe, but the money is the same whether I make ’em or buy ’em, and I’m a selfish seamstress at heart. πŸ˜‰

PJs for Scotch

Fleece footed pajamas are ubiquitous, and also very hot. I finally had had enough of Scotch waking up every morning stinky from sweat. So last weekend I decided to take action.

Enter KwikSew 3126. It’s a toddler pattern I’ve had since Irish was a wee one, and it makes some really cute PJs. I also knew that I had some scraps of flannel in the stash from some PJ’s from Irish, so I got to work. I managed to get the measurements from an uncooperative toddler, and he was a perfect size T1 with the shirt length from T2.

The first version I made collarless because of the way I sewed the facings, and honestly, I wish I’d have just picked out the topstitching and made the collar–flannel doesn’t make very good bias tape. The seams are bulky, so they didn’t fit through the tape maker very well and it sews up bulky too. I should have known this, but I wasn’t thinking.


OK, so I had to buy some red flannel because I ran out of the brown…I made it work though. πŸ˜‰

The second and third versions have collars, but I used some white voile scraps from my stash to make the button placket facing and under collar. I wanted lightweight to reduce bulk, but the voile maybe wasn’t the best choice. A slightly heavier cotton would have been a better choice, but voile was what I had, so I made do. Again I used leftover flannel from pajamas from Irish, and I was a bit short, so made the sleeves and collars in contrasting colors. I think they turned out really cute. πŸ™‚



I used my Singer 301a with her buttonhole attachment to make all the buttonholes, and while I’m getting better at using it, it still seems fiddly. I can’t complain about the quality of the finished product though. If anyone knows of a tutorial for tips/tricks on using one, I’d be interested.

Overall, I think they turned out cute, and Scotch wore the trial pair last night and didn’t wake up stinky!! Winning!


Bonus action shot on big brother’s bed. πŸ™‚

Some quick Tee-NT’s

Ha, see what I did there?:-P Anyway, I recently went on a fabric binge at Needle Nook. Since I haven’t bought hardly any fabric in the last two years (>15 yards), I figured I was due.

June 2015 fabric haul

*Most* of the fabric haul…

From top left:

  • Rayon/cotton animal print
  • Rayon polka dots (wasn’t impressed with this, see below)
  • Hibiscus print ITY*
  • Grey and black watercolor(?) ITY*
  • Some sort of textured snakeskin jersey with little shiny “scales”

And, instead of stashing it, I went straight to making it up. <–This rarely happens, just sayin. I’ve been desperately in need of t-shirts for years, some of them are starting to look dated (literally, the one I’m wearing says 2004 on it), but for some reason I always feel like the stuff I make has to be for “good” at least until it starts to look like it should be relegated to the every day pile. I think this is because I get so few things done, that I don’t want to get them messed up right away. It’s probably along the lines of not being able to give up stuff we’ve made because we made it with our own two hands. This time I tossed that notion to the curb, and am so glad I did!

I used the two rayons to make up a couple of TNT patterns, so they were super fast to make.

Firstly, I made shirts:

Vogue 8670, for like the bazillionth time.

Vogue 8670, for like the bazillionth time.


How amazing is this print?! And it’s so nice to wear! Would I be a total loser for getting it in the other colorways too?

Yes, I know, but I don’t care. I went with a round neckline this time, and they have already been worn several times. The only complaint I had is with the polka dot fabric. It came out of the prewash load already starting to pill, had some small holes, and holy cow it’s a bit sheer–which takes some doing on a black knit! I would say it’s almost tissue weight, and I’m going to do my absolute best to never buy another one like this. The recovery is also terrible, so even though I stabilized the neckline it stretched out and shows my bra straps, and it’s a lot longer (think mini dress length) because it just keeps growing longer and longer. The hot pink though….LOOOOOOVE. So pretty, so comfy, and I’m thinking about going back for the other colorways before they’re gone (if they aren’t already!)

So with the scraps I also decided to go on a knicker-binge with my trusty KS2908!


Scrapbusting at it’s best–and most practical! πŸ˜‰

The last time I went on a binge, I had run out of elastic, so this time when I went in to get elastic for the bottom three pairs, I got some to finish up the top three pairs too. Since the top three were already assembled, it went even faster than normal. I will say that the black fabric didn’t even make good undies because it grows so much, so I basically wasted my time on making them because they’ll be shot in a couple of washes. Oh, well. Also, I hate the wide lace elastic–I mean, it’s pretty and all, but it’s not fun to work with. Someday I’ll get the hang of elastic–people who get perfectly tensioned elastic (especially FOE!) must be magicians, because I’ve made lots of undies, and I still can’t seem to put it on smoothly–there’s always a bit at the end where I panic and pull the shit out of it to get it to fit.

Next up? The shiny scales. πŸ˜‰ Stay tuned!

A sort-of sewing dare

After the birthday dress disappointment, I wasn’t sure what to work on. I knew I wanted to make something, but I kind of felt a bit down on myself for not being able to make the dress work and was afraid I’d screw something else up. So I asked my husband to randomly pick a fabric from the stash and I’d sew it up.

He closed his eyes, threw a pen, and it hit some green stretch plaid. So, I made up a sleeveless KS3199. There’s not much to say about the construction that I haven’t already mentioned, except! I know they say you can’t just leave the sleeves off and expect it to work perfectly. I ignored this, and the shoulders are too wide. Maybe I’ll throw in a tuck or two and call it a “design feature”? Also, I don’t love how this fabric and the interfacing I used interact with each other. So now my collar is doing wonky things and no amount of steam and pressing seems to make a lick of difference. You know what though? I’m not sure how much I care, I need more shirts that I feel can be worn on a daily basis for the non-glamorous life stuff, and if it’s not suitable for nice occasions I’m not going to feel bad if this gets a grease stain on it during harvest or something. Though it’s probably got a little too much poly for it to be amazing in the summer heat…

And I’m still on the fence about how this color looks on me, I am not convinced it’s a color I should regularly wear near my face…

P.S. the more observant of you may have noticed a lack of fasteners. I hadn’t put the pearl snaps (I had an exact match in green!) on yet at the time these were taken–it’s hard to make yourself smash things with a hammer when the baby is sleeping!

Adventures in bodice-fitting: Empire waist edition

Almost a year ago when I wrote the original Adventures in Bodice Fitting post, I never dreamed it would take me this long to get back around to posting another one. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Anyway, so this time I made up Kwik Sew 3199, which is a blouse I’d tried before back in my earlier days of trying to fit my bust, and it failed. Rather spectacularly, actually. As I recall, I made up two or three mockups, but never could nail down the fit, so I gave up. Now I have a bit more experience under my belt and so I was successful in altering this one and making it up. I made up a version in a cute teeny floral print, but sadly, two strikes were against it.

  1. Not enough fabric. This is what happens sometimes when you try and use up your stash. Although, it would have been OK with contrasting collar/cuffs, if it hadn’t been for…
  2. Belly shirt! Yikes! Unhemmed this thing hit half an inch above my jeans. Part of this is the pattern, and part of it was my fault. See, I shortened the front and back bodice to get it to be remotely close to the empire line it’s drafted for. I have an exceptionally short back length, and as drafted, the size I needed put the back empire line just above my hips. No bueno. I shortened the front less, but had to improvise a bust dart to make the seams match from front to back.

Also on the unintentional muslin, I stole the cuff from Butterick 5284 , View A. It’s a cute wing cuff thing, and I’ll have to restrain myself from using it on every sleeve because it’s that cute.

So anyway, if you’re up to it, here’s my alterations:

  • Shortened the back empire seam somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 inches. Part of it was taken from the armscye, effectively making the armhole smaller by about 2 inches.
  • On the back of the bodice I needed to do a narrow shoulder adjustment (first), so I slashed all the way down to the bottom of the pattern piece and slid the shoulder together about 3/4″. On my unintentional muslin, I hadn’t done this alteration yet and my sleeves looked pretty terrible. I got the explanation for that adjustment from SewBrooke. Thanks, Brooke! πŸ™‚
  • After the narrow shoulder adjustment, I did a broad back adjustment. Apparently, having narrow shoulders and a broad back isn’t the norm, but that’s what I’ve got, so I had to figure out how to work with it. I sort of modified the adjustment suggested in my Better Home and Gardens sewing book, based on what I had seen the Slapdash Sewist do. That adjustment was about 11/16″. One thing I learned from this though is that if you do this, there’s a chance you’ll end up with a very nearly bias angle that will do what bias is best at, stretching. So, I plan to put a small strip of fusible interfacing in the seam allowances on that for next time, because this time I had to cut the excess off, and that’s not so pretty on a plaid. 😦
  • On the front I chose a size that was big enough for my full bust, which I’m unsure of whether I would do that again, because it led to a series of other adjustments.
  • Shortened the front bodice about 2″. All of this was in the armscye area because the armholes would have been peekaboo-ing my love handles if I’d have left them alone. (Ok, maybe not quite that bad…but close!) I need to add some back under the armscye for next time though, since the empire line doesn’t sit *quite* on my chest wall.
  • Added a bust dart to make the front empire line match up with the back empire line when sewn together. No, it doesn’t point exactly where it’s supposed to, but it’s close enough that 99% of people won’t notice. Especially, if I sew them neatly.
  • Narrowed up the front bodice shoulders the same as the back–this actually was a bonus in that it narrowed up the high bust area too, which was desperately needed. I guess I have a fairly narrow chest, which is kind of frustrating coupled with the full bust.
  • I goofed around with the sleeves; scooping, undoing some of the scooping, shifting things around, removing sleeve cap height, adding some back….basically, I retraced (and then proceeded to hack and tape) the sleeve pattern piece 3 times trying to get something that would fit both my flabby muscular arms and the armscye. Turns out, that can be a bit of a trick. Eventually I got there, but I’m not real sure what I did, and I really don’t know if I could ever do it again. It might have been easier to just figure out how to draft my own from scratch, honestly.
  • And finally, I added 3″ of length to all the lower panels. This put it back to the original length, based on what I took out, but I think I would actually add another 2″ next time to go with low rise jeans. My finished shirt has a 3/4″ hem, and with low rise jeans there’s just a smidgen of skin flashing when I raise my arms.

Currently, it’s sitting on my dressform waiting for buttonholes and buttons. Since I can’t do those in house, they haven’t gotten done. (Finished just in time to wear it for Easter thanks to my lovely MIL!) I was also waiting for the second version (stretch poly satin) to be finished. Sadly, poor fabric choice and the puffy sleeves killed it. Mostly the puffy sleeves, but the fabric was also a bit of a pain to sew with, and distorted very easily–not mention it was fraytastic! And with 1/4″ seam allowances, you have no room for fraying! But yes, the puffy sleeve look just isn’t for me. I guess that my arms are too fat for that nonsense, because it just looked ridiculous, and I didn’t have enough fabric to cut new sleeves–I barely had enough to cut out the pieces I needed. So I decided that since it was cheap, crappy fabric anyway, it wasn’t a big loss. I’m not that sad about it. The fabric challenge was good experience for me–how often do you get to work with 4 layers of slippery fabric on a collar? It was a good test of my skills, and quite frankly, I nailed it.

So I know that 1 out of 3 sounds bad, but I don’t feel like it is. I’m choosing to think of it in terms of the things I learned and the quality of workmanship that was used. Am I frustrated? Yeah, a little, but I’ve got the fit nailed down, so as soon as I get the time to try it on a non-dodgy fabric (that I actually have some extra of!), I think I could knock out another or two really quickly.

I suppose ya’ll have probably earned some pictures, so enjoy! (Click to enlarge.)

Fail parade

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve likely noticed a couple of projects that hadn’t previously made it on here. They were wadders that I just decided to let go and not try to remake. I don’t have endless amounts of time to dedicate to making things work, so sometimes I just admit defeat, and move on. Especially if I don’t really know what needs to be done to fix it anyway.

Case in point? McCall’s 6163. I have no idea what happened. I don’t know if my stay tape wasn’t up to the challenge (doubtful) or if it was a matter of the thick knit getting that pulled out of whack from my inability to change the presser foot pressure, or if I just flat cut the wrong size (though based on my measurements it should have been right…??) Either way, this was unacceptable.

Good grief, it just gets worse every time I look at it!

I’m slightly fuller busted than the dressform, but it still looked indecent. I didn’t even finish it before throwing it away. It’s a bummer too, because the ladies that reviewed it on PR looked fab in their versions, so it’s definitely something I did–I’m just not sure what.

My other fail was this:

So much promise. *Sigh*

I knew going in that there were a couple of bad spots in the fabric, spots where blue dye had somehow ended up in the white portions, but they seemed like NBD to cut around, and it wasn’t. What I didn’t notice was all the little holes that showed up (or at least became more visible) after washing. I really think it was just a very delicate fabric and should have been handwash only. Of course, I only noticed it after I started sewing, and even then I started to ignore it, but I just couldn’t get the fabric into the point in the CF the first try and…..well, let’s just say that no matter how careful you are, the seam ripper just doesn’t like this fabric. So between the holes from washing and the snags from seam ripping I decided to just let it go.

Anyone else been riding the fail train lately? I’m hoping to end my streak soon, because I’ve still got a need for some cute blouses and t-shirts…

First of the Knockoffs

So after finishing the stuff for the kiddo, I cleaned up my sewing room and started to work on one of the knockoff’s in my post from Thursday. And um, it’s not exactly as I had envisioned. For starters, I tend to carry all my essentials on my person. I keep trying to use a purse, but they’re just so damn inconvenient and in the way, I seriously can’t figure out how other women do it. I hang my phone on my hip with a clip holster, my keys from a belt loop (or sometimes in my pocket if I’m feeling sneaky), and my wallet sits in my back pocket. This shirt though, was WAY too long and so I had to hike it WAY up to get it over my phone clip. Seriously, I’ve seen mini-dresses that are shorter. The other issue was the neckline that is so low it makes Burda seem modest–and adding a neckband didn’t seem to fix that, sadly. I wish I would have taken the time to measure and then shorten the neckband instead of just trusting the pattern, but I didn’t (usually they end up too short to sew in, so I didn’t even think about it) and once it was serged on, I wasn’t about to unpick it. So I went all in and topstitched it so that it would stay semi-flat and just decided to deal.

In fact, this shirt was kind of doomed from the start. I snapped 3 needles, one of them in the first inch of the first seam! My thread kept snagging on the spool (even with a thread net and a cone holder!) and would pull tight enough to either snap the thread or snap the needle, so I ended up throwing the whole cone away. 😦 I’ve tried several methods to get that stupid cone to work for me, and I’m glad to have finally been able to say “enough!” I really thought that the tape over the notch that it kept snagging on was the cure though, it seemed to work for a while, but I must have just been lucky. It’s OK, I’m glad to have finally been fed up enough to just toss it and quit wondering if there’s something else I can try to keep it from snagging. It’s not worth ruining my serger over.



Pink Swirl

Closeups of the details.

As you can see from the details pic, I did make a few changes, as well as changes to get the look I was trying to copy.

  • The original pattern has a gathered or pleated section in the center front. I took this out, but left as much of the volume as I could to achieve the look from the inspiration.
  • The original pattern has a neckline that is simply faced with a thin strip. I needed a bit more coverage, so I made a neckband by doubling the width of the pattern’s neckband facing piece. If only I would have shortened it while I was at it…
  • The pattern was REALLLY long. I hacked off about 5 inches to make it hit just below my hip and added side slits to go over my phone and just because I think it’s kindΒ  of a cute detail.
  • I skipped the twin needle this time and opted to try out what I *think* is the lightning bolt stitch that I hear so much about. I think this turned out OK, it’s not quite as stretchy as the twin needle, but this shirt has enough ease that it won’t matter.

So here is the final result. I think I got pretty close, close enough that I’m happy with it. I’m on the fence about how much it will get worn with the neckline being so big though, any way you dice it my bra is going to show. Hubby thinks it’s cute though, so maybe it’s not as bad as it feels to me.

Pink Swirl2So there it is. What are you working on?



I’ve been making a Pinterest board for all my casual shirt inspiration, and surprise! It looks like I should be able to make a few of them with patterns I already have with a few minor tweaks. Here’s a few of my picks for the near future (hopefully, they’ll be quick and easy!).

KO1Edit KO2 KO4 KO5

I’m not going for exact replicas, but I think I can get close enough with these to be pretty happy. And since I live in t-shirts, they should fit right in to my wardrobe. Add in a couple of my trusty V8670’s, and I should have a really good start. πŸ™‚

And while I know that many of you are WAYYYY better at this image editing thing than I am, can I just say that I’m super pumped that I managed to make these little collages? They took a freakin’ age, but they’re so useful, no?

Now I need to round up my patterns, inspiration is kind of messy. πŸ˜‰