New wedding outfit…or not…

I’m terrible. I was so excited about that jumpsuit. But, life (and a bit of bad luck) seems to have gotten in the way.

Last week, I started to feel like crap, and since we had a big event coming up, I went to the doctor. I got a flu test and had my chest x-rayed, and…I have pneumonia*. I took the antibiotics, frantically lysol-ed everything I ever touched for a week, and sent my children and husband away with stockpiles of vitamin C. I didn’t want anyone to get sick–especially not with the wedding coming up this weekend.

* I feel a bit silly saying I have this. Aside from a cough that hits at random (unless it’s bedtime, then it’s fairly constant–grrrr) and some exhaustion mid day, I feel pretty normal. I did feel crappy the first couple of days, but after that, it’s mostly just the cough.

The other thing that held me back was that I bought an exceptionally beautiful dip dyed rayon (double-crepe? is that a thing?) that they didn’t happen to have quite enough of. The pattern called for 3 yards, but I’m a pattern tetris whiz, so I felt fairly confident that I could fit it on my 2-3/4 yards without too much issue. Turns out I was wrong. If I hadn’t chosen that type of “print”, I’d have had fabric to make a whole nother project, but because of it I needed at least another yard. Which was sold out everywhere, even though the website said that they had a one yard remnant that I tried to order twice over a two week period and which was canceled both times…grr! And by then, I was stuck on this kind of fabric because it seemed perfect–thick enough to not be see-through, lovely drape, that tiny amount of mechanical stretch that rayon is known for and I just couldn’t find anything else that seemed right. And in true Joann style, they only buy a limited quantity of anything that a person might want and oodles of rubbish that hangs out on the shelves forever. Which is the opposite of what I’d do if it were my store, but then, what do I know?

So anyway, all of that to say that I’m giving up. I’m just going to wear my fancy maxi dress instead. I did make all the adjustments to that jumpsuit pattern though, so I’m still planning to make it. One does not simply tape together a PDF pattern, make all the adjustments for it, and then just walk away…though finding an occasion to wear it might be tricky. πŸ˜‰

My first maxi

I’m not sure what is wrong with me lately, since I’ve suddenly increased my skirt/dress wardrobe by 3 pieces. This is kind of crazy, since I’m very much a jeans kind of girl–not only because I find them practical, but also because I have negative thigh gap. Seriously, they rub together so bad that it literally is painful to wear a skirt or dress for a full day. I wear jeans out quickly too, but at least with the jeans it’s not my skin!

Inspiration dress; who knows how long it will last, but I feel so long and lean in it!

Inspiration dress; who knows how long it will last, but I feel so long and lean in it!

Aaaaaanyway, back to the maxi. Technically, my first ever maxi was the inspiration for the one in this post. I bought it from Walmart a month or so ago, and decided that I should make my own, but it wasn’t a priority. Until I saw a fabric that I knew I had to make the maxi dress of awesomeness out of. I first saw it during my fabric binge, but I left it there, because I didn’t know what to do with it. But it just wouldn’t get out of my head, I kept thinking about it and how it would make a beautiful elegant maxi dress for nights out with my husband… Now I have the perfect dress, I just need to convince my husband to take me out!

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Pattern Review: McCall’s 7121

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Welllllllll, for my particular purpose, I hated all the seaming, but I think I’d like to go back and do the chevron stripes someday, so I’ll probably love them then, HA! I loved how easy it was, and the V-necklines.

Fabric Used: For the muslin, I used a cotton jersey and for the real deal I used some sort of polyester knit with silver threads woven into it.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: On the final version, I eliminated the waist seams and the center front seam. To eliminate the waist seam I used the highly unscientific method of joining the bodice and skirt together overlapping the seam allowances. To remove the center front seam I curved the side seam in the same amount that would be added when I cut the center front on the fold to help maintain some shaping. I also had to shorten the shoulders by 2″ on each side to keep it from being indecent. This length wasn’t an issue on the muslin, and I didn’t realize it was a problem with the final version until I had it completely stitched, so you can imagine I was a bit annoyed when picking a triple zig zag out of the fabric and doing my absolute best not to snag any of those silver threads.

Goofs: When I cut the back pieces, I ended up with some twinning. It was either deal with it and be happy or buy another 2 yards of this fabric (which is rather distinctive and unsuited for scrappy projects.) I also seem to need some more room across the back for my big ‘ol butt, because it rides up a bit. Again, not a deal breaker, it is just really obvious from the Oona-esque angle I had my husband try out here.

This is the second time that exactly what I envisioned in my head came to reality, but my current project (StyleArc Barb, if you’re curious) isn’t working out nearly so smoothly. We’ll just have to see how it goes. I’m sure I’ll blog about it in great detail later on, regardless of the outcome. πŸ˜‰

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…

It’s so hard…

To make yourself sew when the weather is absolutely gorgeous!! We’ve been having beautiful days–sunny, 70-75*F, minimal wind, perfect. It’s so nice to leave the windows open and get fresh air in, play t-ball/frisbee/catch/etc. with my son, and go for nice walks around the neighborhood. So I’ve been doing that. And, I must confess, sitting a fair amount of time in my chair (next to the open window) following Twitter/Pinterest. I honestly don’t know how some people are so prolific on there every single day, do they ever get to go outside? Are they eating? I guess, to each their own, but as for me, I’m going to do better about spending less time on there. I always feel a bit down on myself afterwards like “you wasted 2 hours looking at pictures and pithy comments instead of playing with your rapidly-outgrowing-the-playing-stage son?! What kind of crap SAHM are you, anyway?!”

I do have a quick sewing update. I have finished the bodice for McCall’ 6503, though I think when they said it was “easy” it was a terrible lie*. I think I made it 4 times in my attempt to make it once! And then, when I started to make the skirt, I happily chopped into my fabric before realizing that I cut the wrong size, so now I have to find a different fabric to make the skirt part with. *Note:* This may have actually been a blessing in disguise, because I’m not sure that this would have been a good pairing of fabric to pattern to other fabric(s). I think it might have been too heavy for the delicate fabrics on the top (which are basically some cotton lawn and an interlining of batiste or lawn.)

*Or I just always make things harder than theyΒ  need to be. You pick. πŸ˜‰

So anyway, I think that today I’m going to head off to the lumber yard to buy a couple of boards to make up some nightstands. I found some from Ana’s website that I think will be perfect for our bedroom. πŸ™‚ I might grab a couple of the supplies needed for the closet reorganizer that she has too. πŸ˜‰

To my fellow Americans, enjoy your holiday weekend, but don’t forget *why* we’re celebrating, and to non-Americans, have a fantastic weekend!! πŸ™‚

Little Red Riding (no) Hood

I finally got my photo shoot done for my coat. Trying to get this photo shoot set up was like herding cats! The things I do for you guys, LOL!Β  Anyway, we’ve pretty much covered everything elsewhere, so I’ll keep it pretty brief.

I think the coat turns out cute, the instructions are hit and miss, and I don’t plan to make it again. Would I recommend it? Sure, if you are in need of an adorable, yet impractical lightweight coat. (Seriously, I have actual flannel, wool, and lining and it’s not the warmest coat, but would work good above freezing temps.) If you wear this in less than freezing temps, you are going to be cold, no doubt about it, but you are going to be cold and sexy. Which is what is really important here, right? πŸ˜‰

IMG_0204 Edited-001IMG_0199 IMG_0206

P.S. I kind of wish I’d have blurred out my ugly tennis shoes, but there’s no way I was going to climb around in the creek bed wearing heels!

Can you tell what it is yet?

Here’s a little somethin’ I’ve been working on, can you tell what it’s supposed to be yet?

Almost Front Almost Back






Yes! My coat is starting to finally look like a coat! *Squee!!* It desperately needs a pressing, I think I’m going to rip out and resew the hem so that the lining fabric doesn’t peek out the bottom, there’s a couple of seams that I think could use some grading, and I need to do the sleeve hems, but I’m getting pretty close I think! Also, I’ve opted to do some sew in snaps with buttons over the top (or maybe not if I can put in the snaps invisibly enough and not have weird pulling.)

Technically, I’m not supposed to have flipped it right side out like this yet, but I couldn’t resist seeing how it was coming along (and also, I wanted to make sure I had sewn the middle seam correctly–there was some misinterpretation of the instructions or just poor instructions or something with the skirt facings–either way there was much swearing) and while it was flipped, I thought this would be the perfect time to take a couple of pictures of my progress. πŸ™‚

Anyway, hopefully ya’ll aren’t getting bored with the progress updates on this thing, but I’ve been so excited about doing something that was so far out of my comfort zone/skill set! It’s definitely been a learning experience so far!

Coat-in-progress shot

Just to prove that I really am sewing this coat instead of saying screw it I’m going to BCF and buying one that looks similar–because believe me, that option has been tempting–I’ve got an in progress shot for you. I have the upper shell finished (sans sleeves) and the corresponding lining (also sans sleeves) stitched together. My collar even went in perfectly the first time, which is a first–my collars never go in perfectly the first time, there’s always futzing to be done.

Partial Shell

I’m going to have to pick out part of the front facing and undo the pleats on the lining pieces, because my order of construction was apparently a bit sketchy, but it’s not too much, so it won’t be a huge deal if I take care of it now. I’m getting closer!




The honeymoon is definitely over…

And shit just got real. I feel like I’ve been working on this coat my entire life at this point. Whenever I go down to the sewing room we glare at each other in mutual hatred. Whenever I’m not downstairs working on it I feel guilty that I’m still not finished. I’m trying really hard not to just half-ass it like I want to, but I’m not going to be able to hold off on that urge much longer. Let’s recap my issues so far, shall we?

  • Short on fabric for the original coat pattern idea, so opted for a different (but still cute) pattern.
  • Barely enough fabric to squeeze this coat pattern out with my minor screw-up.
  • Searched high and low to find Ambience lining at a store I could visit IRL.
  • Failed to take into account that I’d need at least an extra yard of the 45″ lining fabric so had to buy more (OK OK, so I conned my MIL into picking it up and bringing it to me).
  • Failed to take into account that I’d need at least an extra yard of the 45″ flannel interlining fabric (to be fair, I bought this a year ago when I bought the wool, so it wasn’t like I just didn’t learn my lesson with the lining.) So guess what I’ll be doing very soon so that I can cut out the last 2 pieces of my coat?
  • Forgot to add length to the front facing piece after doing the FBA on the bodice. I’m afraid since I didn’t quite get them lined up that I’m going to have to take teeny-tiny seam allowances on one of the front facing pieces (or bigger ones on all of them), but I’ll make it work. I’m short enough that I think I can get away with that pretty easily.

I’ve also learned a couple of things while doing this process:

  1. I really hate Ambience lining. I’ll take a slippery charmeuse over this stuff any day, at least the charmeuse doesn’t slip right off my flannel-covered ironing board and try to slide off the table every time you look away. I don’t like the way it feels either, so I’m definitely going to skip it in favor of pretty silk for future lining projects once I use up whatever I have left of this stuff.
  2. That quilt spray adhesive that I purchased for my son’s quilt has actually come in handy–I sprayed it on the flannel, stuck the pieces of lining to it, cut around them, and then serged them together. Don’t wait around though, this stuff evaporates (and thus loses its adhesion) fast! I’d cut out a piece and then serge it immediately, don’t cut out several pieces and then try it.
  3. Quilt spray adhesive gets everywhere and it’s hard to get off your fingers.
  4. Quilt spray adhesive also stinks to high heaven, and may or may not give you a major headache. Or maybe that was just the sinus infection that I may or may not be trying to get.
  5. Starching heavily doesn’t seem to work on Ambience. I starched the hell out of it and it’s still hard to work with. Also, it creases easily, but doesn’t iron flat very well (probably because it doesn’t want to stay on the ironing board!)

Anyway, I’m almost done cutting pieces out. I’ve only got a couple more pieces of interlining to cut out before I’m ready to assemble. I think the assembly should go pretty fast, since not only have I sewn up like 3 muslins, but also there just isn’t much too this coat. Everything that is cut out is serged, interfaced, etc., so it’s pretty straightforward after I get those last couple of pieces cut. The one thing that I’m really not sure about is fastenings. My inspiration coat (which I only saw once on a gal in church) had metal clasps like these:

Cool, but how on Earth do you attach them?!

Cool, but how on Earth do you attach them?!

I also kind of like these, but only if I can find them in a silvery finish (I’m a hater of all things gold-ish toned, especially brass/bronze).

But I’ve also thought that maybe making some loops in the front and putting in buttons like the Vogue coat that I had as an option in the beginning would be nice too. Not to mention it’s probably the easiest option. But then, what color of buttons? Black? Shell? Wood? Fabric covered?

Given my particular figure, I don’t think a belt is the best option for me, and I can’t figure out a way to add a zipper without making it look sloppy.

So there you have it. All the excuses reasons I still don’t have this coat done. Tomorrow, I shop for more fabric and finish cutting out. This thing WILL be done before this weekend, (except for permanent fasteners, possibly) because I hope to sew up a quick cardigan before Saturday. Unless I get hit with a sinus infection. But I’m trying to be positive. Mind overΒ  matter and all that.

The Coat Project: Alterations

I finally finished muslin 3, and I think I have it pretty much nailed. I’ve got a bit of twisting on the sleeve when my arm is down, but it disappears when my arm is up. I suspect that I forgot to add back some of the width I had removed on a previous muslin, so I think I’ll add back a bit more width to the shoulder. OK, it wasn’t there this time…. ???

Ed. note: I’m leaving this in here because it might be useful to someone else, but apparently it doesn’t apply because I think my muslin might have just been hanging up on the baggy t-shirt I was wearing yesterday. In case you are wondering, I got the idea from this pattern review for a Minoru jacket on PR. She said that it wasn’t enough length over the shoulder, and while I thought it seemed like it was exactly where it should be, perhaps it’s not. Or, maybe I screwed up the grain when I was hacking on that hot mess that is the sleeve.

BTW, if you are wondering about the alterations I did, here’s the list:

  • FBA (Full bust adjustment)
  • NWA (No waist adjustment AKA letting out a couple of the darts a bit)
  • Narrow shoulder
  • Broad back (using this method from Slapdash Sewist)
  • Forward shoulder adjustment (sleeves only, based on this method from PhatChickDesigns)
  • Full Bicep Adjustment (I got the method from the Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book)
  • Also used the bicep adjustment from Nancy Zieman (note to self: learn how to draft sleeves)

I even have some pictures to show all the alterations I did so that you can get a better idea of the changes I made. It seems like a lot of alterations, and it is, but I learned quite a bit from them, and while my fit isn’t “perfect”, I’m not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. And lets face it, this is pretty darn good when you consider how many challenges there are to fitting my particular shape. I may make one more teensy adjustment–I think I’m going to make an angled fold in the front of the bodice to make it just a titch shorter along the center front edge, because I think that there’s maybe just a bit too much length there as it gapes…I’ll have to think it over, because the wool will be more bulky than the muslin is, and honestly, I’m not wearing the best bra I own either (OK, none of my bras are all that great right now) so I may need that extra room when I am wearing a bra that gets the girls up where they belong. I may have just talked myself out of doing that….funny how that works, isn’t it?

Anyway, enough blathering, take a gander at the pictures and see what you think, I welcome any and all comments/criticisms (as long as they are polite), because I’m not one of those people who asks for an opinion and then gets upset when it’s not what I want to hear–if I was, I just wouldn’t ask.

McCall’s muslin monstrosity

I love a bit of alliteration, don’t you? This post is going to be pictureless and a bit spazzy, because it was written over the course of a few days and I’m not sure how to go about fixing it too much while still saying everything I want to. A gifted writer I am not, but you already knew that. πŸ˜›

So I have been working on my muslin, sort of. I had plenty of holdbacks of the usual sort, ran out of muslin, guests, unexpected charity work, that sort of thing. Anyway, so I sewed up the bodice muslin last night, and it truly is a monstrosity…or maybe it’s my body that is a deformed monstrosity–nothing like making (or buying) clothing to make you feel like a complete and total mutant, wouldn’t you agree?

As per usual, I added an FBA to this baby, but after a recent growth spurt (seriously, boobs, please quit growing!!) I realized that I was going to need to amp up the adjustment, so I added a 2″ FBA. The funny thing is that the exact amount that I added to the bust area needs taken out just above the bust, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to go about it doing it. The shoulders are also really wide, so they’ll have to be fixed too–sleeves aren’t supposed to start 3″ down your arm.

So as you can imagine, after trying on my muslin, I went and searched through my books to see if there was a reference to an alteration that looked like it might fix my problem. I have two good sources, one is a 3 ring binder “Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book” from 1972, and the other is the Nancy Zieman “Pattern Fitting with Confidence” from a couple of years ago.

Edit: I used the Zieman method, but unfortunately for muslin 1.5, it made the shoulders slope too much, and narrowed the shoulders about 1/2″ too much. Actually, this is mostly my fault, it’s an alteration for narrow sloping shoulders, and I’ve only got the narrow part, sloping is apparently not an issue that I have (I’m embarrassed to admit that I was previously a bit unsure). However, between doing that and widening the sleeve, my range of motion is pretty awesome. I think once I un-slope the shoulders and give just a titch more of width to the sleeves, I should be pretty close to being able to cut into my wool. I still need to test out the skirted portion though, because I’ve never worn a circle skirt, so have no idea how they look on my body. Hopefully the muslin will give me an idea even if it isn’t exactly the right drape for the cut.

I also have muslin 2.0 which is only half a bodice (note: I don’t recommend doing this–it’s really hard to determine fit this way, IMO) for which I fixed the shoulder slope, added more width to the sleeves, as well as doing this kind of neat adjustment to them where you scoop out the front curve of the sleeve and flatten the curve on the back–my sleeves are still too small, and also too small for the current armscye, however, I’m almost there. And I’ve got incredible mobility even though the sleeves are still too tight for bulky sweaters. Like I’ve literally never had such freedom of movement. I’m seriously considering drafting my own bodice block with these changes so that they are prepped and ready for future garments, I’m so excited about my ability to move my arms without pulling/straining/riding up. It’s like a fitting epiphany. I think I hear angels singing…..anyway, I think you get the point. πŸ˜‰

So anyway, if any of you out there are more of a column shape (aka barrel-chested) vs. being an oval shape, stay tuned, because I have tons of pictures to help you as soon as I relocate the cord for my camera and get them uploaded. I’ll probably make that as a separate post(s), to make the process easier to understand.