Leftovers (Simplicity 4076)

So after the dress I made last post, I had a lot of odd shaped scraps of that crinkly polka-dot fabric left, and I didn’t want to toss them, so I made a blouse. Specifically Simplicity’s 4076, and spoiler; I LOVE it. I didn’t even wash it before it’s first outing.

In my usual fashion though, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to make a couple of changes; some fabric related, some fit related.

  • FBA (a bit trickier because of the weird shaped piece, but I probably could have made it easier on myself if I’d have done the next bullet point first.
  • I cut the weird front twisty piece in half. Partly because it fit on my weird scraps better that way, but mostly because the crinkles would have been going the wrong way on part of the bodice, and that would have driven me crazy. This is fairly well hidden in this dark, textured fabric, but doesn’t work as well on lighter fabrics.
  • I flared it at the waist, as I’ve found that shape to be much more flattering on me.
  • I shortened it in the neckline to keep it from being indecent.
  • Flutter sleeves from a different view. I like them because they fit my giant biceps better. 💪 I don’t have little twiggy arms, I have muscular (ok, and a *little* bit flabby) arms.
  • Lazy girl method of taking in the back neckline. AKA I cocked the piece on the fold a little to take out about 1/2″ at the neck. Worked like a charm.
  • Added something like 4″ to the hem. I’m about as short torsoed as they come, and this would have been nearly a crop top on me. I also “mulletized” the back a smidge, adding an extra 2″ in the center back, tapering to nothing at the sides.
  • I didn’t do this, but would next time: add notches to the part where I split the pattern pieces to make lining them up easier.
This is how the pieces are originally oriented in their single piece form, but I changed the grain line of the top when I cut it off and made it perpendicular to the original grain.
Are these not the cutest sleeves?!
Knot a closeup. 😆
Here she is in entirety! I like the subtle flare.

So after this rousing success, I tried it again using all the same techniques on a lightweight rayon knit fabric, and it didn’t work. I think you have to have a knit with one way stretch, and cutting the top piece off on a non textured fabric that was a lighter color showed that seam, which was more noticeable than I was ok with. It may have been because the fabric was more drapey, or just because it was lighter in color, or both, I can’t say for sure. So, just be aware of that if you try it yourself.

A fail in three parts

But first, a bit of backstory. I made view A of S1589 a long time ago and it has slowly gotten shorter and tighter with every wash, and then it started fraying. I kind of love it though, so I wanted to try it again. But I remembered that I took a lot of excess out of the pattern back when, so I decided to start with the size 14 instead of the 16, (since I know that shrinking in the wash isn’t the only reason it’s tighter now…oops!). So I happily traced off both views thinking that view B was also pretty cute. So cute in fact, that I decided to try it first.


I should have traced off the 12. Even though the pattern pieces were similar in width to the blue muumuu, and I used similar fabric, for whatever reason it’s just not as flattering. Possibly because there is even less shaping and no darts? Maybe because the back is so much wider since it has that split? I don’t know. It also ended up being longer than needed (this is my fault, I added about 3″ to make damn sure it never showed my belly), and it’s REALLY wide at the hips–which would be great if I needed to smuggle an entire snackbar into a movie theater, buuuuut no.


Why I bought this particular floral is beyond me. Was I drunk? Because this is the coyote ugly of fabric, and it doesn’t flatter my coloring at all. When will I ever learn to stay away from pastel colors?! And while the floral pattern is just OK in flat fabric, I don’t like it in shirt form.


Not only did I buy a spectacularly unflattering and homely fabric, I didn’t buy enough of it to make anything! I ended up cutting one of the back pieces on the cross grain because I was desperate to see what it would look like. Which is crap. Absolute crap that doesn’t even look good on the mannequin. Argh!

Lessons learned?

  • Quit buying fabric without a project in mind.
  • Quit buying Joann’s rayons (did I mention this fabric had snags and holes?! 😡 Just like the blue from the blue muumuu. Grrr!!) It’s not like they are a “bargain”!
  • Ignore all sizing instructions *except* the finished garment measurements. With the exception of Lekala and maybe Burda, the size charts seem off.
  • No more pastels–they make me look like a corpse!

Shorts fail

Well, Simplicity 1808 was a big, fat fail for me. I should have known better. I have a lot of junk in the trunk and a belly in the front, but the thought of elastic waistband jean shorts called to me and I ignored all common sense. The crotch curve on this pattern is laughable. I’m pretty sure (though not positive, since it’s never something I’ve had) that these are designed for the flattest butt to ever flat. There is almost no curve, and then they also add in a crazy amount of ease. The size chart said I needed between a size 18 and a size 20 for my 43″ hips. That size wasn’t even included, so I used the finished measurements and cut a size 14, thinking that the stretch in my denim would cover the rest of the ease.

When I first tried them on they didn’t touch my body at all. Literally. There was an “air moat” between the denim and my skin all the way around. Chub rub was all that held them up. I took out 3″ from the center back and then 4″ more in the form of two darts to get them to fit loosely without being baggy, but while they fit, they looked terrible (think mom jeans), and I decided that was enough. I promptly threw them in the trash.

As I said in my review, I’ve been trying very hard to take accurate measurements and then use them honestly instead of lying to myself. But then you have a project that comes out like this and you wonder if you’re going too far the other direction.

My quest for nicely fitting pull on shorts continues…

Jungle January 2015

If you follow sewing blogs at all, you’ve surely heard of Jungle January by now. And it seems that every time I participate I sew up something in a snakeskin print. I guess that even though I have no love for snakes I have a thing for a good snakeskin print. And this year, even though I was aiming for bottomweight zebra for a skirt, I found a gorgeous snakeskin rayon challis in the “red tag” section of J’s for 50% off the red tag price + a discount for it being the end of the bolt–it was destiny!! Guess zebra will have to wait until next year. 😉

I was hypnotized by the pretty, it had to be mine!

I was hypnotized by the pretty, it had to be mine!

I used Simplicity 1598 a Learn to Sew pattern. I decided that this was going to be the year of doing simple things very well. Sometimes I do things kind of sloppy, and I decided that sometimes it’s better to do the simple things with precision and skill vs doing more complex things with mediocrity. Plus, it had a cute back detail and looked like it would be as cool and comfy as one can find for summer.

So you know how I just said “do the simple things very well”? I had apparently forgotten that skill and precision isn’t dependent entirely on the complexity of the garment–sometimes fabric can be the sole challenge. I should have starched the absolute hell out of this challis, but I didn’t, so it was tricky to cut and sew neatly. And sadly, it still didn’t have enough drape to keep this pattern from being a “shent” on me. The back of the envelope said I needed a size 16 so I thought; “this is a learn to sew pattern, I’m going to just cut it like they tell me to, they surely wouldn’t misguide newbies, and then I won’t need to make a muslin…” famous last words, my friend. Famous last words. After I cut down about 6 inches total + still keeping the 5/8″ seam allowance (or more), I think everyone can see that it’s still not exactly “fitted”. I tried to add a french dart, but that’s a no go once your fabric is cut (I’d have had enough to make the “flange” if I had thought to dart it before cutting the sides down though). Ultimately, I wore it around the night after I finished it, and it’s comfy (and cool!) and I think it will be great for summer, if not exactly the most flattering item of clothing I’ve ever owned. And hubby and Irish both say it looks nice. 🙂

Seasonally appropriate? What’s that?

So I finally sewed up something that wasn’t a wadder. Granted, it’s taken me forever (seriously, over a week!) to sew up a simple loose-fitting blouse that should have only taken a couple of hours, but it’s a finished blouse, so I’ll take it. 🙂

Except! It’s really more suited for summer heat than the current freezing temps. So while it’s exceptionally cute, it’s going to languish in the closet for a few months. Not even my high tolerance for cold is going to let me wear a backless blouse made of some sort of polyester gauze (actual fabric type is unknown, but it came from the big green J, so I’m confident it’s poly). But instead of being “late” for summer, I’m totally claiming it as “early” for next year. I’m so on the ball, eh? 😉

So what is this garment of seasonal inappropriateness, you ask? Why it’s Simplicity 1614, of course! I made up view D in a size 16. I thought about making it in the 18 to match my full bust measurement, but I figured it surely had enough ease to cover and not be too ginormous everywhere else with the 16. And I was right. And since it didn’t have to fit my narrow shoulders, I didn’t need to use the smaller sizes either (I usually need the shoulders of a 10 or a 12). As is, it’s nearly perfect size-wise, or at least it is what I was aiming for. 🙂

Business in the front

Business in the front

For the most part, this was a fairly easy sew. My problems stemmed from using the most fray-tastic, shifty fabric in the history of fray-tastic, shifty fabrics that snagged on everything, including itself! Gah! Seriously, poly charmeuse ain’t got* nothin’ on this stuff! I suppose I should also point out that two other things gave me grief: 1) I’ve never made bias tubes out of such a lightweight fabric before–it looked like a drunk monkey sewed those tubes up! and 2) My bias tape application still needs some practice. This time it was made worse by the fabric choice. 😦 No matter though; it’s cute, and I like it. 🙂 Besides, who can resist this rear view? 😉

Party in the back!! Love me a cute (and possibly tacky) back detail!

Party in the back!! Love me a cute (and possibly tacky) back detail!

And if you’re wondering what happened to the knock-offs, well, one has been sitting in my sewing room in the exact same stage (aka nearly done, but with minor fixes needed) for over a month now. I finally worked up the willpower last night to pick out the side seams and the sleeves so that I can basically recut the front because it got distorted by some seaming. No one needs wrinkles in front of their armpits that look like…well, use your imagination, I’d as soon not get creepy pervs finding me. 😛 Of course, I managed to lose the front pattern piece, so I’ll have to retrace it, which means it may take even more time as I really don’t love tracing…

*Why yes, I did just use the phrase “ain’t got”…my English teachers would all be properly horrified, not to mention reconsidering those A’s they gave me all those years ago. 😉

I’m taking the plunge!

I’m getting ready to try something I’ve been meaning to try for a while. Sew up a coat. As I write, the wool is shrinking in the dryer. I’m using this method to shrink it, in case you’re wondering. It’s a red wool from Hancock Fabrics that I bought the last off the bolt last year. I will likely cut this on the floor, so that I can make absolutely sure all of my pieces fit, since I know this will be a tight squeeze, but I’m usually pretty good about being able to make things work with shorter yardages (or have enough excess to make something else).

The pattern? I’m hoping to make the blue version of Simplicity 2508. But, who knows, as short as I am, the short version may be long enough. (BTW, I wanted the white version, but apparently it’s suggested that people with my particular figure stay away from double breasted coats/jackets. I would say “phooey” on them, but this coat will be fairly expensive and time consuming, so I don’t want one I’ll hate when it’s done.)

Stay tuned for the muslin, I’m sure this will be an interesting experience. 😉

Anyway, I have no idea how this post got so lengthy, so I’m just going to wish everyone a fabulous (holiday) weekend!!

Wadder-like projects and pattern alterations

I made up a “wearable” muslin of Simplicity 7057. Well, I guess what I should clarify; it’s wearable, just not by me. However, it fit my MIL perfectly, so it has been redeemed. This was the blouse on me, complete with arrows pointing to why it didn’t work for me:

Can you tell how tight this is pulling? And the back rides up too. 😦

This sucker pulled hard at the back under arm. The only alteration I made for this iteration was to petite-ify it, because I wanted to see what was actually needed before doing any potentially unnecessary alterations. I even skipped the FBA, because this had ample room in the bust as drafted. But, it looks great on my MIL and it gave me some starting points for alterations that I needed to do for the next version.

So I decided to give the alteration that the Slapdash Sewist posted a couple of years ago a whirl. Being a raglan though, I went with a slightly less severe alteration than was shown in the illustration–I didn’t want to make the armscye too high, though I’m not sure if that would have even been an issue. Here’s my pattern piece after the alteration:

1/2″ added across the back.

I also added some width to the sleeves because they were tight, and then cut out another version. From the basted fit, it seems like the pulling is better, though I should have made the back alteration a bit bigger, maybe 3/4″. I think I’m going to call it good though, and try adding a box pleat for future non-stretch wovens.

Originally I had planned to make up several of these at once, but to be honest, making these types of shirts is terribly tedious and boring, and I’m just not sure how much excitement I’m going to be able to muster up to make a few more of these. Plus, I’m out of suitable fabrics. And while I’d love to buy more fabric, I’m really trying to use up some of the stuff in the stash, so that I can polish up this rather tarnished halo. 😉

I see quite a few knit projects in my future… 😎 I know, I have it so rough, right? 😉

P.S. I clicked on the “this post is super awesome” box, can you tell any sort of difference???

Simplicity 5554 in the trash

Well, it was supposed to be a dress for church, and it would have been a really flattering one, but now it’s in the trash can. 😦 It’s been nothing but trouble from the start, but the last straw was when I pulled the zipper tab off the invisible zipper by accident. So I decided good riddance. I was tired of fighting with it, it wasn’t fun, and I decided that it wasn’t worth the headache and the trip to town to put in a new zipper.

I wouldn’t discourage anyone from using the pattern, just make sure that your pattern is complete, has instructions, and that you have enough fabric to do it the way it was intended instead of trying to come up with creative ways to make it work.

Random stuff

I have a FO to show, but need to wait for some better lighting to take pictures of it I’ve got the pictures, yay!! It’s nearly dark here with clouds even though it’s morning, but no rain–which we desperately need–as yet. The finished project is Simplicity 2364 View D.

Here’s my version:

I used the same fabric I used for my McCall’s 6069 dress. Instead of cutting a full facing as they suggested, I cut tricot(?) fusible interfacing using the top 2 inches of the facing piece all the way around, stitched it on as I would do the facing, and then flipped it to the inside and fused it. Here’s a couple of pictures so that you can see what I’m talking about. After the facings were fused, they ended up being sewn into the seams.

If it comes away from the fabric, I’ll probably just use some of that stitch witchery stuff that makes a permanent bond. I might change the exact way I did it next time so that it comes out slightly prettier on the inside, but I would say that it worked out pretty well. The only thing I would caution is that the armhole is pretty small, even on my dressform.

I have actual bicep muscles, and this armhole is pretty tight as drafted, but I could probably tolerate it for a while. If not, I can give it away. Hubby really likes it on me though, so he may be upset if I do unless I make another one.

Pray for us to get some rain, and have a great weekend! 🙂

Still kickin’

Been a while since I’ve posted on here, and a lot has happened since then.

Simplicity Amazing Fit skirt: Still working on it. It may have been a blessing that it was too small, considering the fact that the thread I used is nearly impossible to pick out since it keeps shredding. I tossed the spool, it must have been old, and I would have been terribly upset to not only probably have a wardrobe malfunction in public, but also that it might have fallen apart quickly. So I’ve been slowly picking out the stitches on it, since I have to do every. single. stitch. one at a time or it shreds, it’s been really slow going.

While I’ve been working on the skirt, I’ve also done a few other things. I patched my husband’s cover-alls (my sewing machine doesn’t like those any more than it likes red vinyl), a couple pairs of jeans, and finished up a couple of small UFO’s that were sitting around the sewing room. It’s nice to get that stuff out of my way. 🙂

Speaking of jeans, I traced off the pieces for Jalie 2908. I cut/basted the pieces together in a non-stretch denim, which since the pattern was for stretch denim I wasn’t expecting it to come out perfect. They were snug, but not any more so than some of the jeans in my closet. I’m pretty excited, because that means that if I cut them out of stretch denim I’ll have it nailed perfectly. Turns out my problem with the pattern last time is that I didn’t fix the curve from the hip to the waist. It’s designed for an hourglass figure, whereas my waist is only like 2″ smaller than my hips. So I just swung it out with my French curve two or three sizes to straighten out the side seam. It was hard to remember to do it for all the corresponding pieces, but I think I did it on all of them. It fit together when I basted it, if that’s any indication.

I’m pretty excited, over the weekend, hubby and I helped my mom put together a bed for my little brother. The great thing about it is, now we know what to do when we build the same one for ourselves. 🙂 It went together pretty fast once we got all the pieces cut out. I think we had it 80% assembled (that’s where we quit for the night) within an hour and a half. If we would have had a decent saw to work with, I think we could have cut it out in about an hour and a half as well–as it was, it took like 4 hours to cut it all out. My skills with the cordless drill are getting better too, so I’m pretty excited about that. 🙂

I’ve got a ton of different foods to cook up today so that I can stash it in the freezer, so I’d better get started. Hope everyone has a great day! 🙂